Human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome in pregnant women.

Vermund SH, Galbraith MA, Ebner SC, Sheon AR, Kaslow RA
Ann Epidemiol. 1992 2 (6): 773-803

PMID: 1342332

A pregnant woman experiences selective immunosuppression as a physiologic response to the presence of a genetically heterologous fetus. Case reports early in the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) epidemic suggested that adverse human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-related clinical outcomes might be causally associated with pregnancy. A review of relevant published data indicates that: (1) Adverse clinical outcomes of pregnancy are common among HIV-infected pregnant women, but no studies to date have fully disentangled the many confounding factors. (2) HIV-related complications are common in pregnancy only among immunosuppressed (< 300 CD4+ cells/mm3) women. (3) The distinct effect of pregnancy on the expression of HIV infection cannot be evaluated in the absence of appropriately controlled observations. (4) Cofactors for perinatal transmission are poorly understood. (5) Research into the motives for reproductive decisions and behaviors is of critical importance for improving our health education and outreach efforts for high-risk women. (6) Adequate clinical treatment and prophylactic health care services must be made easily accessible and available to women at high risk of HIV disease. (7) Treatment with available antiviral and anti-Pneumocystis drugs is advisable for HIV-infected pregnant women with fewer than 300 to 350 CD4+ cells/mm3, though data to definitively guide therapeutic decision making are not available. (8) Large multicenter studies are needed to recruit patients and to retain them in sufficient numbers, allowing for better evaluation of the many variables determining clinical outcomes for HIV-infected mothers and their infants. The natural history of HIV in pregnant women must be studied to facilitate clinical decision making, and to design and implement interventions, including prevention (behavior change, vaccines) and treatment (chemotherapy, immunotherapy).

MeSH Terms (8)

Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome Female Humans Infant, Newborn Pregnancy Pregnancy Complications, Infectious Pregnancy Outcome Risk Factors

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