n Obstetrics and Gynaecology Forum - HIV and pregnancy : review

Volume 25, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1027-9148



South Africa has a high burden of HIV disease. Approximately 29% of antenatal clinic attendees are infected with HIV. A compromised immune system in pregnancy was thought to render the HIV positive woman more susceptible to complications. Recent data suggests that HIV causes few adverse effects on pregnancy. Similarly, pregnancy is not associated with HIV disease progression. Appropriate use of anti-retroviral therapy is a major determinant in the fall of HIV/AIDS related morbidity and mortality as well as perinatal transmission. Maternal mortality due to non-pregnancy related infection, of which HIV is the major contributor, is declining. This is a reflection of improved prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV guidelines in South Africa. All pregnant women are now initiated on lifelong anti-retroviral therapy. It is hoped that this will improve maternal health and thus directly impact of infant well-being.

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