Rwanda: Men Are the "Secret Ingredient" in PMTCT Program (April 2007)


PEPFAR supports an impressive prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission (PMTCT) program in Rwanda, which targets male involvement in PMTCT services.

In Rwanda, couples are a population at risk for HIV infection. Thus, male involvement in PMTCT programs is essential for reducing the risk of HIV infection, both for couples and their unborn children. Couples who come for PMTCT services are tested for HIV and counseled on HIV prevention, general health matters, and voluntary family planning. Women who test HIV-positive are advised about how to prevent transmission of HIV to their babies.

Twenty-six-year-old Jean Claude Mutabazi and his wife, Olive Nyirabagirayabo, are veterans of the PMTCT program. Prior to the birth of their first child, Jean Claude twice accompanied Olive for antenatal visits at Kinihira Health Center in Rulindo District. In October 2006, the couple returned for the first antenatal visit for their second child, due in April 2007.

Jean Claude noted: "It's very important, very useful to accompany your wife. You have to know your status, so you know how to act. If it happens that you're positive and your wife is negative, you need to know what to do." Jean Claude and Olive said that couples counseling and HIV testing helped their relationship. Now, they're able to make decisions together about their baby and their sexual behavior.


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