A Systematic Review of Behavioral Couples-Based Interventions Targeting Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission in Low- and Middle-Income Countries

Academic Article


  • There is increasing focus in HIV prevention and treatment on couples-based approaches. No systematic review has synthesized prospective behavioral couples-based HIV trials targeting prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) outcomes in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). We systematically reviewed published abstracts and articles reporting prospective comparative evaluations of behavioral couples-based HIV interventions delivered during pregnancy to both members of a self-identified heterosexual couple in LMICs following PRISMA. Citations, abstracts, and full texts were double screened for eligibility. References meeting eligibility criteria underwent double data abstraction, quality appraisal, and qualitative synthesis. We identified 295 unique publications. Of these, 5 randomized trials were deemed eligible and synthesized. Studies were conducted in 3 different African countries using three overarching intervention approaches: home-based; group workshops; and faith-based. Studies included various PMTCT outcome measures. We found evidence that behavioral couples-based approaches around the time of pregnancy can positively affect HIV testing among pregnant women and their male partners, infant HIV prophylaxis use, and HIV-free infant survival. The effects on other PMTCT outcomes were not well supported. There was a low to moderate risk of bias among the included studies. Few couples-based PMTCT interventions have been tested in LMICs. Of the interventions we located, workshops/group education and home-based couple counseling and testing were most commonly used to promote PMTCT. Research is needed on the role of relationship dynamics within such interventions and whether couples-based approaches during pregnancy can extend to health outcomes across the PMTCT continuum of care.
  • Authors

    Published In

  • AIDS and Behavior  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Hampanda K; Pelowich K; Chi BH; Darbes LA; Turan JM; Mutale W; Abuogi L
  • Start Page

  • 443
  • End Page

  • 456
  • Volume

  • 26
  • Issue

  • 2