The increasing incidence of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection in women of childbearing age led us to evaluate whether pregnancy affects the natural history of this disease.
To conduct a prospective study of women with known dates of HIV seroconversion to describe the incidence and outcome of pregnancy and to assess differences according to age and exposure group. To compare the rate of disease progression between pregnant and nonpregnant women.
All participants, recruited from 14 clinical centers in Italy, had documented HIV-seronegative test results followed by confirmed positive test results within 2 years.
A total of 331 women, who had seroconversion between 1981 and 1994, were followed up for a median of 5.5 years from seroconversion; 94 developed HIV-related diseases, 47 developed acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, and 53 had at least 1 CD4 cell count lower than 0.10× 109/L (<100 cells/mm3). Thirty-eight women (11.5%) were pregnant at the time of HIV seroconversion and 31 (9.4%) became pregnant after HIV seroconversion (cumulative incidence of pregnancy within 8 years of seroconversion, 28.9%; 95% confidence interval, 21.6%-36.2%). Forty-five (65.2%) of the 69 pregnancies were carried to term. There were no discernible differences in these findings by age or exposure group. Pregnant women did not experience a more rapid rate of progression of disease, even when adjusting for age, exposure group, CD4 cell count, or use of treatment (adjusted relative hazards: HIV-related diseases, 0.72; acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, 0.69; CD4 cell count <0.10×109/L, 1.24).
Women infected with HIV continue to become pregnant after seroconversion, yet pregnancy does not appear to influence the rate of progression of HIV disease.Arch Intern Med. 1997;157:2585-2590