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For the current survey-round (2003/4), ten regions were selected, six of them being those surveyed in 2001/2002 while the remaining four were freshly selected on the basis of having the largest population among the remaining regions.

Thus, regions with largest populations were preferentially selected.

At this point the upper part of the surveillance data form that contains a woman's clinic card number is removed and destroyed.

ANC staff mailed completed data collection forms and DBS for HIV testing using weekly courier service to the National HIV Reference Laboratory (NHRL) at MUCHS.

This paper presents the prevalence of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and syphilis infections among women attending antenatal clinics (ANC) in Tanzania obtained during the 2003/2004 ANC surveillance.

Patient particulars were obtained by interview and blood specimens were drawn for HIV and syphilis testing.

In all study sites rapid plasma reagin (RPR) test was done on the site.

In the majority of rural sites, ANC nurse performed the test whereas, in most of the urban and peri-urban sites it was carried out in a laboratory by a Laboratory Technician/Assistant.

Subsequent to the selection of the ten regions, six ANC clinic sites were selected from each region on the basis of a large catchment population, high average number of monthly bookings, road accessibility and previous participation in national sentinel surveillance studies. However, three of the sites did not participate in the training exercise for the surveillance protocol and were therefore excluded from the study.

The 57 sites included in the study were stratified into three distinct geographical categories for each region according to whether they were urban, peri-urban or rural with the following definition: Urban – ANC clinic is located within the regional headquarter town Peri-urban – ANC clinic is located in a town other than the regional headquarter town Rural – ANC clinic is located in a rural area.

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