Original Article

Medical Care of Pregnant Women in Eastern North Carolina with Human Immunodeficiency Virus

Authors: Shradha Pokharel, MD, Ramzy H. Rimawi, MD, Dawd Siraj, MD, MPH


Objectives: To assess the time lag between the diagnosis of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and the initiation of antiretroviral therapy (ART) in pregnant women.

Methods: A retrospective chart review of 105 deliveries from HIV-positive women from January 2001 to June 2009 was undertaken.

Results: One hundred five HIV-infected pregnant women were identified and studied. Forty-eight women were diagnosed during the prenatal visit: 21 in the first trimester, 17 in the second trimester, and 10 in the third trimester. Forty-five had undetectable viral loads at delivery. The time lag between diagnosis of HIV and initiation of ART was 1 month for 31% and 3 months for 28.5%.

Conclusions: The time lag between diagnosis of HIV and initiation of ART was more than 1 month in 69% of the expectant mothers, which may have contributed to the failure in viral suppression. Implementation of HIV screening and a more effective means of communication between prenatal and HIV clinics are required to help reduce vertical transmission of the virus to neonates.

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