Maternal and Perinatal Outcomes in Pregnancies Associated with HIV Infection: A Prospective Cohort Study
Dr. Suvasmita Saha,
c/o Dr. Hasibul Hasan Shirazee, North Kolkata Infertility and IVF Centre, 15/1C/1G Raja Manindra Road, Paikpara, Kolkata-700037, India.
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Introduction: Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) has persisted as the world’s leading infectious killer disease. Globally, around 19.3 million women in the reproductive age group are suffering from HIV, and most of these women are capable of transmitting this infection to their babies. Although pregnancy does not have an adverse effect on the natural history of HIV infection in women, Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) has become a leading cause of maternal and perinatal morbidity and mortality in some areas as the epidemic progresses.
Aim: To assess the impact of HIV infection on maternal health, the risk of vertical transmission, and neonatal complications.
Materials and Methods: This prospective cohort study was conducted at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, RG Kar Medical College and Hospital, Kolkata, West Bengal, India between March 1, 2021, and August 31, 2022. The study population comprised all pregnant patients with a known positive HIV status or those diagnosed newly during routine antenatal screening at the antenatal Outpatient Department (OPD) and Prevention of Parent to Child Transmission of HIV (PPTCT) clinic, or attending obstetric emergency. After registering in the antenatal clinic, they underwent all routine investigations, including baseline CD4 count, husband’s HIV status, screening for other sexually transmitted diseases, and initiation of Antiretroviral Therapy (ART). Maternal and perinatal outcomes, such as maternal complications, risk of vertical transmission, gestational age at birth, and birth weight of the baby, were assessed throughout the antenatal period and up to six weeks post-delivery. Data were entered into a Microsoft Excel datasheet and analysed using Statistical Packages for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 22.0 software. Categorical data were represented in the form of frequencies and proportions. Chi-square test was used for significance testing, with a p-value <0.05 considered statistically significant.
Results: Out of a total of 15,087 deliveries during the study period, 55 were HIV-positive cases, with a prevalence of 0.36%. Both vaginal delivery and cesarean section showed almost similar vertical transmission rates in the newborns, i.e., 4 (14%) and 4 (17%), respectively. Opportunistic infection rates were significantly higher in mothers with lower CD4 counts (<200). Mothers receiving regular ART treatment showed a lower incidence of perinatal complications, such as neonatal sepsis, perinatal asphyxia, convulsions, or perinatal death, i.e., 6 (13.63%), compared to those not on treatment, 8 (72.72%) (p-value=0.005475). Higher rates of vertical transmission were observed in patients with significantly lower Cluster of Differentiation 4 (CD4) counts, 5 (71%) versus 3 (6.8%) (p-value=0.00001).
Conclusion: Pregnancy outcomes in terms of maternal risks of infection, risk of vertical transmission, preterm births, foetal deaths, and neonatal complications can be significantly improved by early diagnosis and treatment of HIV infection. Proper antenatal care, early detection, initiation of antiretroviral drugs, and patient compliance with the multidrug regimen are the mainstay of feto-maternal well-being.