A Prospective Study of the Effect of Pregnancy on CD4 Counts and Plasma HIV-1 RNA Concentrations of Antiretroviral-Naive HIV-1-Infected Women
ABSTRACT In HIV-1-infected women, CD4 count declines occur during pregnancy, which has been attributed to hemodilution. However, for women who have not initiated antiretroviral therapy, it is unclear if CD4 declines are sustained beyond pregnancy and accompanied by increased viral levels, which could indicate an effect of pregnancy on accelerating HIV-1 disease progression.
In a prospective study among 2269 HIV-1-infected antiretroviral therapy-naive women from 7 African countries, we examined the effect of pregnancy on HIV-1 disease progression. We used linear mixed models to compare CD4 counts and plasma HIV-1 RNA concentrations between pregnant, postpartum, and nonpregnant periods.
Women contributed 3270 person-years of follow-up, during which time 476 women became pregnant. In adjusted analysis, CD4 counts were an average of 56 (95% confidence interval: 39 to 73) cells/mm lower during pregnant compared with nonpregnant periods and 70 (95% confidence interval: 53 to 88) cells/mm lower during pregnant compared with postpartum periods; these results were consistent when restricted to the subgroup of women who became pregnant. Plasma HIV-1 RNA concentrations were not different between pregnant and nonpregnant periods (P = 0.9) or pregnant and postpartum periods (P = 0.3). Neither CD4 counts nor plasma HIV-1 RNA levels were significantly different in postpartum compared with nonpregnant periods.
CD4 count declines among HIV-1-infected women during pregnancy are temporary and not sustained in postpartum periods. Pregnancy does not have a short-term impact on plasma HIV-1 RNA concentrations.
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ABSTRACT: Plasma HIV viral load (VL) is the principle determinant of mother-to-child HIV transmission (MTCT), yet there are few data on VL in populations of pregnant women in sub-Saharan Africa. We examined the distribution and determinants of VL in HIV-positive women seeking antenatal care (ANC) in Cape Town, South Africa. Consecutive HIV-positive pregnant women making their first antenatal clinic visit were recruited into a cross-sectional study of viraemia in pregnancy, including a brief questionnaire and specimens for VL testing and CD4 cell enumeration. Overall 5551 pregnant women sought ANC during the study period, of whom 1839 (33%) were HIV positive and 1521 (85%) were included. Approximately two-thirds of HIV-positive women in the sample (n=947) were not on antiretrovirals at the time of the first ANC visit, and the remainder (38%, n=574) had initiated antiretroviral therapy (ART) prior to conception. For women not on ART, the median VL was 3.98 log10 copies/mL; in this group, the sensitivity of CD4 cell counts ≤350 cells/µL in detecting VL>10,000 copies/mL was 64% and this increased to 78% with a CD4 threshold of ≤500 cells/µL. Among women on ART, 78% had VL<50 copies/mL and 13% had VL >1000 copies/mL at the time of their ANC visit. VL >10,000 copies/mL was commonly observed in women not on ART with CD4 cell counts >350 cells/µL, suggesting that CD4 cell counts may not be adequately sensitive in identifying women at greatest risk of MTCT. A large proportion of women entering ANC initiated ART before conception, and in this group more than 10% had VL>1000 copies/mL despite ART use. VL monitoring during pregnancy may help to identify pregnancies that require additional clinical attention to minimize MTCT risk and improve maternal and child health outcomes.Journal of the International AIDS Society 01/2015; 18:20045. · 4.21 Impact Factor