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BACKGROUND: Understanding associations between pregnancy and HIV disease progression is critical to provide appropriate counseling and care to HIV-positive women. METHODS: From 2006 to 2011, women less than age 40 with incident HIV infection were enrolled in an early HIV infection cohort in Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa, Uganda, and Zambia. Time-dependent Cox models evaluated associations between pregnancy and HIV disease progression. Clinical progression was defined as a single CD4 measurement <200 cells/μl, percent CD4 <14%, or category C event, with censoring at antiretroviral (ART) initiation for reasons other than prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT). Immunologic progression was defined as two consecutive CD4s ≤350 cells/μl or a single CD4 ≤350 cells/μl followed by non-PMTCT ART initiation. Generalized estimating equations assessed changes in CD4 before and after pregnancy. RESULTS: Among 222 women, 63 experienced clinical progression during 783.5 person-years at risk (8.0/100). Among 205 women, 87 experienced immunologic progression during 680.1 person-years at risk (12.8/100). The association between pregnancy and clinical progression was adjusted hazard ratio [aHR] = 0.7; 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.2, 1.8. The association between pregnancy and immunologic progression was aHR = 1.7; 95% CI: 0.9, 3.3. Models controlled for age; human leukocyte antigen alleles A*03:01, B*45, B*57; CD4 set point; and HIV-1 subtype. CD4 measurements before versus after pregnancies were not different. CONCLUSIONS: In this cohort, pregnancy was not associated with increased clinical or immunologic HIV progression. Similarly, we did not observe meaningful deleterious associations of pregnancy with CD4s. Our findings suggest that HIV-positive women may become pregnant without harmful health effects occurring during the pregnancy. Evaluation of longer-term impact of pregnancy on progression is warranted.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





224 - 232


Adult, Anti-HIV Agents, Antiretroviral Therapy, Highly Active, CD4 Lymphocyte Count, Cohort Studies, Disease Progression, Female, HIV Infections, Humans, Infectious Disease Transmission, Vertical, Kenya, Pregnancy, Pregnancy Complications, Infectious, Proportional Hazards Models, Rwanda, South Africa, Uganda, Zambia