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High prevalence of herpes simplex virus (HSV)- type 2 co-infection among HIVpositive women in Ukraine, but no increased HIV mother-to-child transmission risk

Tags: | April 27th, 2016

Authors: Aebi-Popp K, Bailey H, Malyuta R, Volokha A, Thorne C. Ukraine European Collaborative Study in EuroCoord.

Published in: BMC Pregnancy Childbirth. 2016;27;16:94

Background Over 3500 HIV-positive women give birth annually in Ukraine, a setting with high prevalence of sexually transmitted infections. Herpes simplex virus Type 2 (HSV-2) co-infection may increase HIV mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) risk. We explored factors associated with HSV-2 seropositivity among HIV-positive women in Ukraine, and its impact on HIV MTCT.

Methods Data on 1513 HIV-positive women enrolled in the Ukraine European Collaborative Study from 2007 to 2012 were analysed. Poisson and logistic regression models respectively were fit to investigate factors associated with HSV-2 seropositivity and HIV MTCT.

Results Median maternal age was 27 years (IQR 24–31), 53 % (796/1513) had been diagnosed with HIV during their most recent pregnancy and 20 % had a history of injecting drugs. Median antenatal CD4 count was 430 cells/mm3 (IQR 290–580). Ninety-six percent had received antiretroviral therapy antenatally. HSV-2 seroprevalence was 68 % (1026/1513). In adjusted analyses, factors associated with HSV-2 antibodies were history of pregnancy termination (APR 1.30 (95 % CI 1.18–1.43) for ≥2 vs. 0), having an HIV-positive partner (APR 1.15 (95 % CI 1.05–1.26) vs partner’s HIV status unknown) and HCV seropositivity (APR 1.23 (95 % CI 1.13–1.35)). The overall HIV MTCT rate was 2.80 % (95 % CI 1.98–3.84); no increased HIV MTCT risk was detected among HSV-2 seropositive women after adjusting for known risk factors (AOR 1.43 (95 % CI 0.54–3.77).

Conclusion No increased risk of HIV MTCT was detected among the 68 % of HIV-positive women with antibodies to HSV-2, in this population with an overall HIV MTCT rate of 2.8 %. Markers of ongoing sexual risk among HIV-positive HSV-2 seronegative women indicate the importance of interventions to prevent primary HSV-2 infection during pregnancy in this high-risk group.