This paper offers lessons learned from a literature review of community involvement in biomedical and other technologies that can guide appropriate and effective introduction of services for prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV. A companion paper discusses research in Botswana and Zambia that showed gaps in community knowledge about HIV transmission, particularly from mother to child, and yielded insights into community perspectives about barriers to using voluntary counseling and testing services; stigma and fear associated with HIV; traditional norms on breastfeeding; and the role of family and community members in women’s decisions to participate in programs to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV. A separate publication (“Community involvement in the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV: Insights and recommendations”) offers recommendations for community involvement strategies. Placed within the framework of community involvement, an intervention that addresses mother-to-child transmission of HIV offers an enormous opportunity to improve HIV prevention and care. Successful interventions can influence how AIDS is perceived by the community, reduce stigma, and have an effect beyond the immediate prevention of perinatal transmission.
Leonard, Ann, Purnima Mane, and Naomi Rutenberg. 2001. "Evidence for the importance of community involvement: Implications for initiatives to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV," Community Involvement in Initiatives to Prevent Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV: A Collaborative Project. New York and Washington, DC: Population Council and the International Center for Research on Women.