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SAMJ: South African Medical Journal

versão On-line ISSN 2078-5135
versão impressa ISSN 0256-9574


ANDERSON, K et al. The next generation: Pregnancy in adolescents and women living with perinatally acquired HIV in South Africa. SAMJ, S. Afr. med. j. [online]. 2021, vol.111, n.3, pp.260-264. ISSN 2078-5135.

BACKGROUND: An increasing number of girls living with perinatally acquired HIV (PHIV) are reaching adolescence and adulthood and becoming pregnant. Youth living with PHIV (YLPHIV) may have HIV-associated infections/complications, long-term exposure to antiretroviral treatment (ART), drug resistance and increased psychosocial challenges, which may adversely affect pregnancy outcomes. There is a lack of published studies on pregnancy in YLPHIV in sub-Saharan AfricaOBJECTIVES: To describe characteristics of pregnant South African (SA) YLPHIV and their pregnancy outcomesMETHODS: We retrospectively identified pregnancies in YLPHIV, who were diagnosed with HIV when they were <12 years old and before their first pregnancy (as a proxy for perinatal route of infection), from routinely collected data in Western Cape Province, SA (2007 - 2018). We combined these with pregnancies from a Johannesburg cohort of YLPHIVRESULTS: We identified 258 pregnancies among 232 females living with likely PHIV; 38.8% of pregnancies occurred in YLPHIV <16 years old, 39.1% at age 17-19 years and 22.1% at age >20 years. In recent years, a steady increase in the number of pregnancies in YLPHIV was noted; more than two-thirds occurred during 2016 - 2018. ART was commenced prior to pregnancy in 84.9% of YLPHIV, during pregnancy in 6.6% and was not commenced by pregnancy end date in 8.5%. Of the pregnancies in young women with documented outcomes (88.8%; n=229), 80.3% were live births, 14.4% terminations, 3.1% miscarriages and 2.2% stillbirths. Mother-to-child transmission of HIV occurred in 2.2% of infants, 75.3% were uninfected when last tested and 22.6% had unknown HIV status. Among YLPHIV with CD4 counts available within 12 months of pregnancy end date (n=202), 20.3% had a CD4 count <200 cells/μL, 43.1% CD4 count 200 - 499 cells/uL and 36.6% CD4 count >500 cells/uL. Among those with a viral load (VL) available within 12 months of pregnancy end date (n=219), 66.7% had a VL <400 copies/mL, 5.0% VL 400 - 999 copies/mL and 28.3% VL >1 000 copies/mL. Of 186 neonates, 20.4% were preterm deliveries (<37 weeks' gestation). Among neonates with known birthweight (n=176), the mean birthweight was 2 900 g (95% confidence interval (CI) 2 747 - 2 935 g) and 20.5% had a low birthweight (<2 500 g). One congenital malformation (musculoskeletal) and 2 neonatal deaths were recordedCONCLUSIONS: In recent years, the number of pregnancies in YLPHIV has increased. A considerable proportion of pregnancies occurred in YLPHIV <16 years old. A high proportion of pregnancies was electively terminated. The prevalence of elevated VL and poor immunological status among pregnant YLPHIV is concerning

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