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Maternal CD4+ Cell Count Decline after Interruption of Antiretroviral Prophylaxis for the Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV
Published: Monday, August 27, 2012
Author: Didier Ekouevi et al.

by Didier Ekouevi, Elaine J. Abrams, Malka Schlesinger, Landon Myer, Nittaya Phanuphak, Rosalind J. Carter, MTCT-Plus Initiative


We evaluated maternal CD4+ cell count (CD4+) decline after PMTCT prophylaxis in a multi-country HIV care program.


Analysis was restricted to antiretroviral therapy (ART)-naive, HIV-infected pregnant women with CD4+ =250 cells/mm3 at enrollment. Single-dose nevirapine (sd-NVP) or short-course antiretroviral prophylaxis (sc-ARVp) with zidovudine (AZT) or AZT + lamivudine (3TC) was initiated in 11 programs while 2 programs offered triple-drug antiretroviral prophylaxis (tARVp) (AZT+3TC+ NVP or nelfinavir). All regimens were stopped at delivery. CD4+ decline was defined as proportion of women who declined to CD4+ <350 cells/mm3 or <200 cells/mm3 at 24 months. Weibull regression was used for multivariable analysis.


A total of 1,393 women with enrollment CD4+ =250 cells/mm3 initiated tARVp (172; 12%) or sc-ARVp (532; 38%) during pregnancy or received intrapartum sd-NVP (689; 50%). At enrollment, maternal median age was 27 years (interquartile range (IQR) 23–30), median CD4+ was 469 cells/mm3 (IQR: 363–613). At 24 months post-delivery, the cumulative probability of CD4+ decline to <200 cells/mm3 was 12% (95% CI: 10–14). Among a subgroup of 903 women with CD4+ =400 cells at enrollment, the 24 month cumulative probability of decline to CD4+ <350 cells/mm3 was 28%; (95% CI: 25–32). Lower antepartum CD4+ was associated with higher probability of CD4+ decline to <350 cells/mm3: 46% (CD4+400–499 cells/mm3) vs. 19% (CD4+ =500 cells/mm3). After adjusting for age, enrollment CD4+ and WHO stage, women who received tARVp or sd-NVP were twice as likely to experience CD4+ decline to <350 cells/mm3 within 24 months than women receiving sc-ARVp (adjusted hazard ratio: 2.2; 95% CI: 1.5–3.2, p<0.0001).


Decline in CD4+ cell count to ART eligibility thresholds by 24 months postpartum was common among women receiving PMTCT prophylaxis during pregnancy and/or delivery.