Carol-Ann Swain, Lou C. Smith, Denis Nash, Wendy P. Pulver, Victoria Lazariu, Bridget J. Anderson, Barbara L. Warren, Guthrie S. Birkhead and Louise-Anne McNutt*


Mother-to-child-transmission of HIV in the United States has been greatly reduced, with clear benefits for the child. However, little is known about factors that predict maternal loss to HIV care in the postpartum year. This retrospective cohort study included 980 HIV-positive women, diagnosed with HIV at least one year before pregnancy, who had a live birth during 2008–2010 in New York State. Women who did not meet the following criterion in the 12 months after the delivery-related hospital discharge were considered to be lost to HIV care: two or more laboratory tests (CD4 or HIV viral load), separated by at least 90 days. Adjusted relative risks (aRR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for predictors of postpartum loss to HIV care were identified with Poisson regression, solved using generalized estimating equations. Having an unsuppressed (>200 copies/mL) HIV viral load in the postpartum year was also evaluated. Overall, 24% of women were loss to HIV care during the postpartum year. Women with low participation in HIV care during preconception were more likely to be lost to HIV care during the postpartum year (aRR: 2.70; 95% CI: 2.09–3.49). In contrast, having a low birth weight infant was significantly associated with a decreased likelihood of loss to HIV care (aRR: 0.72; 95% CI: 0.53–0.98). While 75% of women were virally suppressed at the last viral load before delivery only 44% were continuously suppressed in the postpartum year; 12% had no viral load test reported in the postpartum year and 44% had at least one unsuppressed viral load test. Lack of engagement in preconception HIV-related health care predicts postpartum loss to HIV care for HIV-positive parturient women. Many women had poor viral control during the postpartum period, increasing the risk of disease progression and infectivity.

The full article

* Denotes CSDA Associates and Staff