Nigeria has high rate of pediatric HIV but there is a dearth of empirical data on the mode of HIV transmission. Association for Reproductive and Family Health (ARFH), with the support of USAID, is implementing a project to mitigate the impact of HIV on Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) affected/infected with HIV/AIDS in Akwa-Ibom, Lagos, and Rivers states, Nigeria. The mode of HIV transmission among their OVC was examined. A retrospective study of enrolled OVC was done in the three states. HIV OVC whose mothers are HIV positive were classified under those who got HIV through vertical transmission, otherwise horizontal. The data was summarized using descriptive statistics. Significance of association between qualitative variables and mode of transmission was determined using Chi-square test. Among the 387 OVC HIV positives who enrolled, there was a slight preponderance of males (50.6%); and about 42% were aged 10 - 17 years and 26% <5 years. Vertical mode of HIV transmission was higher (77%) in children <10 years. Horizontal transmission was highest among Akwa-ibom adolescents. In addition, age and State were significantly associated with transmission mode. A high proportion of children <10 years were infected through vertical transmission; while majority of adolescents are infected through horizontal transmission. Hence, a Swift scale-up of prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission (PMTCT) services is recommended. Pregnant women infected with HIV need close monitoring to receive counseling as well as to get ARV prophylaxis. Also, condom demonstration should be introduced into the OVC project
Key words: Orphans and vulnerable children (OVC), HIV, prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission (PMTCT), vertical, horizontal, transmission.
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