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עמוד בית
Sat, 15.06.24

Original Articles

IMAJ | volume

Journal 10, October 2008
pages: 667-671

Mother to Child Transmission of Human Immunodeficiency Virus: The Jerusalem Experience 1996–2006

    Summary

    Background: In recent years, mother to child transmission of human immunodeficiency virus in the west has decreased markedly due to the advent of antiretroviral drugs given during pregnancy, cessation of lactation and careful monitoring of viral load in the perinatal period.
    Objective:
    To assess mother to child transmission of HIV[1] among Ethiopian immigrants and non-Ethiopians in the Jerusalem area.
    Methods:
    We conducted a prospective analysis of all deliveries of HIV-positive women in the Jerusalem district over a 10 year period.
    Results:
    Between 1996 and 2006, 35 HIV+ women gave birth to 45 infants. Thirty-one (88%) of these women were of Ethiopian origin and gave birth to 39 infants. Of the 35 HIV+ women, 30 were aware of being HIV positive. They gave birth to 40 infants. Another 5 women (14%) were not aware of being HIV+ during delivery. They gave birth to five infants. Of the group of known HIV+ women, 26 (87%) were Ethiopian immigrants who delivered 34 infants and 4 were non-Ethiopians who delivered 6 infants. In the group of five women not aware of being HIV+, all were Ethiopians. Breast-feeding data were available for 32 of the 35 women. Only 2 women (6.2%) breast-fed their babies. Neither was aware of being HIV+. In the Ethiopian immigrant group (both known and unknown HIV status), 11 deliveries (28%) were vaginal, 18 (46%) were elective cesarean section and 10 (26%) were delivered by emergency cesarean section. Of the 26 known HIV+ Ethiopian women, 3 (12%) refused to take antiretroviral treatment despite repeated counseling. In the non-Ethiopian group, all deliveries were elective cesarean sections. Mother to child transmission of HIV occurred in 4 of the total 45 deliveries (8.8%). Of the 4 transmission cases, 2 occurred among 40 deliveries of known HIV+ women (5%), and 2 occurred among the 5 deliveries of women not aware of being HIV+ (40%, P = 0.05). In the group of Ethiopian women only, HIV transmission occurred in 4 of 39 deliveries (10%), of which 2 occurred among 34 deliveries (5.8%) of women know to be HIV+ and 2 among 5 deliveries (40%) of women not aware of being HIV+ (P = 0.08).
    Conclusions:
    Pregnant Ethiopian immigrants whose HIV status was known during pregnancy were at relatively high risk of HIV transmission despite the availability of antiretroviral drugs and counseling. This is likely due to inadequate adherence to ART[2] preventive regimens and is not dissimilar to the poor adherence observed among other immigrant groups in western countries. The substantial proportion of women, all Ethiopians, unaware of being HIV+ at delivery, together with the significantly higher HIV transmission in that group compared to women who knew their HIV status, call for a revision of the current Ministry of Health opt-in policy for prenatal HIV screening.

     



    [1] HIV = human immunodeficiency virus
    [2] ART = antiretroviral therapy

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