Early diagnosis, vertical transmission of HIV and its associated factors among exposed infants after implementation of the Option B+ regime in Ethiopia: A systematic review and meta-analysis



Despite scaling up programmes to prevent vertical transmission of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), over 400 children are infected every day globally. Guidelines recommend that all HIV-exposed infants should be tested within 4–6 weeks of birth. This meta-analysis aimed to explore concrete evidence on early diagnosis, pooled prevalence of HIV among HIV-exposed infants and its associated factors in Ethiopia following implementation of the Option B+ regime in 2013.


Electronic databases such as PubMed/MEDLINE, EMBASE and Cochrane Library were used to retrieve eligible articles. This meta-analysis was developed using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis guidelines. Heterogeneity and publication bias were evaluated using Cochran’s Q statistic quantified with inverse variance and Egger’s statistical test. Random effect model meta-analysis was used to report the pooled estimate.


The pooled estimate of early diagnosis and prevalence of mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of HIV since implementation of the Option B+ regime in Ethiopia were 64.84% and 5.64%, respectively. No antenatal care [odds ratio (OR) 4.4], home delivery (OR 6.8), infant enrolment >6 weeks after birth (OR 2.2), mixed feeding (OR 4.1) and no antiretroviral prophylaxis after birth (OR 13.2) were associated with increased risk of MTCT.


This review of 19 studies from six regions of Ethiopia found that only two-thirds of HIV-exposed infants were tested at ≤6 weeks of age. Although there has been a major reduction in the prevalence of MTCT of HIV since implementation of the Option B+ region, the pooled prevalence of MTCT of HIV remains higher than the WHO target of 5% among breastfeeding participants. From the evidence obtained in the 19 studies included in this review and international MTCT practice, recommendations to minimize the high prevalence of MTCT of HIV include encouraging antenatal care follow-up and institutional delivery; enrolling HIV-exposed infants immediately after delivery or at least before 6 weeks of age; promotion of exclusive breastfeeding; improving adherence to antiretroviral therapy during antenatal care, labour/delivery and breastfeeding; and increasing the provision of antiretroviral prophylaxis at birth for exposed neonates. A national representative study of MTCT of HIV for all regions of Ethiopia is needed to obtain an updated view of this programme.


Getaneh T, Dessie G, Desta M, Assemie MA, Alemu AA, Mihiret GT, Wondmu KS, Negesse A




  • Epidemiology and Determinants of Health
    • Epidemiology
  • Population(s)
    • Children or Youth (less than 18 years old)
  • Testing
    • Testing


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