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Infectious Diseases - Obstetrics - Public Health and Epidemiology - Women's Health

High Prevalence of Hypertension and Placental Insufficiency, but No In Utero HIV Transmission, among Women on HAART with Stillbirths in Botswana
Published: Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Author: Roger L. Shapiro et al.

by Roger L. Shapiro, Sajini Souda, Natasha Parekh, Kelebogile Binda, Mukendi Kayembe, Shahin Lockman, Petr Svab, Orphinah Babitseng, Kathleen Powis, William Jimbo, Tracy Creek, Joseph Makhema, Max Essex, Drucilla J. Roberts


Increased stillbirth rates occur among HIV-infected women, but no studies have evaluated the pathological basis for this increase, or whether highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) influences the etiology of stillbirths. It is also unknown whether HIV infection of the fetus is associated with stillbirth.


HIV-infected women and a comparator group of HIV-uninfected women who delivered stillbirths were enrolled at the largest referral hospital in Botswana between January and November 2010. Obstetrical records, including antiretroviral use in pregnancy, were extracted at enrollment. Verbal autopsies; maternal HIV, CD4 and HIV RNA testing; stillbirth HIV PCR testing; and placental pathology (blinded to HIV and treatment status) were performed.


Ninety-nine stillbirths were evaluated, including 62 from HIV-infected women (34% on HAART from conception, 8% on HAART started in pregnancy, 23% on zidovudine started in pregnancy, and 35% on no antiretrovirals) and 37 from a comparator group of HIV-uninfected women. Only 2 (3.7%) of 53 tested stillbirths from HIV-infected women were HIV PCR positive, and both were born to women not receiving HAART. Placental insufficiency associated with hypertension accounted for most stillbirths. Placental findings consistent with chronic hypertension were common among HIV-infected women who received HAART and among HIV-uninfected women (65% vs. 54%, p?=?0.37), but less common among HIV-infected women not receiving HAART (28%, p?=?0.003 vs. women on HAART).


In utero HIV infection was rarely associated with stillbirths, and did not occur among women receiving HAART. Hypertension and placental insufficiency were associated with most stillbirths in this tertiary care setting.