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Comparison of HIV prevalence estimates from antenatal care surveillance and population-based surveys in sub-Saharan Africa
  1. L S Montana1,
  2. V Mishra2,
  3. R Hong2
  1. 1
    Harvard University, Boston MA, USA
  2. 2
    Macro International Inc, Calverton, Maryland, USA
  1. Livia S Montana, Department of Global Health and Population, Harvard School of Public Health, 655 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, USA; lmontana{at}


Objective: To compare HIV seroprevalence estimates obtained from antenatal care (ANC) sentinel surveillance surveys in Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania and Uganda with those from population-based demographic and health surveys (DHS) and AIDS indicator surveys (AIS).

Methods: Geographical information system methods were used to map ANC surveillance sites and DHS/AIS survey clusters within a 15-km radius of the ANC sites. National DHS/AIS HIV prevalence estimates for women and men were compared with national prevalence estimates from ANC surveillance. DHS/AIS HIV prevalence estimates for women and men residing within 15 km of ANC sites were compared with those from ANC surveillance. For women, these comparisons were also stratified by current pregnancy status, experience of recent childbirth and receiving ANC for the last birth.

Results: In four of the five countries, national DHS/AIS estimates of HIV prevalence were lower than the ANC surveillance estimates. Comparing women and men in the catchment areas of the ANC sites, the DHS/AIS estimates were similar to ANC surveillance estimates. DHS/AIS estimates for men residing in the catchment areas of ANC sites were much lower than ANC surveillance estimates for women in all cases. ANC estimates were higher for younger women than DHS/AIS estimates for women in ANC catchment areas, but lower at older ages. In all cases, urban prevalence was higher than rural prevalence but there were no consistent patterns by education.

Conclusions: ANC surveillance surveys tend to overestimate HIV prevalence compared to prevalence among women in the general population in DHS/AIS surveys. However, the ANC and DHS/AIS estimates are similar when restricted to women and men, or to women only, residing in catchment areas of ANC sites. Patterns by age and urban/rural residence suggest possible bias in the ANC estimates.

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  • Funding: Support for this research was provided by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through the MEASURE DHS project (#GPO-C-00-03-00002-00) at Macro International Inc, Calverton, MD, USA.

  • Competing interests: The authors are affiliated with Macro International Inc, which implements the MEASURE Demographic and Health Surveys project. The findings and conclusions in this study are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the funding agencies or the organisations to which the authors belong.

  • Contributions: LSM and VKM developed the idea for this study. LSM carried out the GIS analysis and drafted the paper. RH conducted the data analysis. VKM refined the analysis and revised the paper.

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