Antenatal clinic-based HIV prevalence in Zambia: declining trends but sharp local contrasts in young women.

Centre for International Health, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway.
Tropical Medicine & International Health (Impact Factor: 2.3). 07/2006; 11(6):917-28. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-3156.2006.01629.x
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT To describe regional variation in human immunodefffeciency virus (HIV) prevalence trends in the period 1994-2002 and to assess the effects on prevalence trends of residence, educational level and age, and potential interaction between these variables.
The data were from the national HIV sentinel surveillance system comprising information collected using interviews and unlinked anonymous testing of blood among pregnant women attending antenatal clinics in 22 sites in 1994, 1998 and 2002.
There was a decline in HIV prevalence in the age group 15-24 years in the period 1994-2002 both in rural (by 11%) and urban (by 26%) areas. The decline was strongest among highly educated women. However, this overall decline masked striking differences at community (site) levels with clearly declining epidemics in many sites contrasted by increasing epidemics in some and stability in others. Urban/rural residence, age, educational attainment, marital status and parity were factors closely associated with HIV infection. Having born many children was associated with lower risk of being infected by HIV, even in the age group 15-24.
The HIV prevalence decline in young women is likely to reflect a drop in incidence during the period. However, there were sharp geographical contrasts in trends. Such local contrasts probably indicate differences in effectiveness of preventive interventions. Understanding factors and mechanisms explaining the differences will be of critical importance to better guide preventive interventions.

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    ABSTRACT: Background: In general, safety data following exposure to drugs in the first trimester of pregnancy are scarce. More specifically, data on the safety of artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) in pregnancy still remain limited. Therefore, pregnant women from Choma, Zambia, who were exposed to artemether-lumefantrine (AL) for the treatment of uncomplicated malaria were followed up and evaluated in a prospective cohort study. This report assessed the longitudinal safety outcomes of the pregnant women inadvertently exposed during the first trimester. Methods: Participants were classified based on the drug used to treat their most recent malaria episode: artemether-lumefantrine (AL) versus sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) and/or quinine. All enrolled women were followed up until six weeks post-delivery and the live births for 12 months. Results: There were 294 first trimester exposures in the observational cohort (pregnant women: AL = 150, AL and SP=9 and SP and/or quinine=135). Similar rates of perinatal mortality (stillbirths and neonatal deaths) were observed for each treatment arm (AL 4.4%, SP and/or quinine 3.9%). At delivery (newborns: AL = 135, AL and SP=7 and SP and/or quinine=129), the gestational age (measured using the Dubowitz total scores), length and head circumference of the newborns were similar between the two arms. Low birth weights were reported in 10.2% (95% CI 6.0, 16.6) and 6.7% (95% CI 3.4, 12.6) of newborns in the AL and SP and/or quinine arms, respectively. Overall development (including neurodevelopmental parameters) was similar between the two arms, both at 14 weeks and 12 months of age. Conclusion: Exposure to AL and SP in the first trimester was not associated with particular safety risks such as perinatal mortality, preterm deliveries or low birth weights. Such outcomes as well as infant neurodevelopmental parameters up to 12 months were similar between the two arms. These findings add to the body of data suggesting that randomized clinical trials could now be the way forward to assess safety and efficacy of ACT in the first trimester of pregnancy.
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May 22, 2014