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Int J STD AIDS. 2000 Jun;11(6):393-401.

Risk factors for HIV infection among asymptomatic pregnant women attending an antenatal clinic in western Kenya.

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  • 1Centre for Vector Biology and Control Research, Kenya Medical Research Institute, Kisumu.


Our objective was to evaluate HIV prevalence and identify risk factors for HIV infection among women attending the antenatal clinic (ANC) at a large public hospital in Kisumu town, western Kenya. Between June 1996 and November 1997, in the context of a study to determine the effect of placental malaria on mother-to-child transmission of HIV in western Kenya, HIV-1 antibody testing was offered to women with a singleton uncomplicated pregnancy of > or =32 weeks' gestation attending the ANC. Women were interviewed using a structured questionnaire and had a fingerstick blood sample collected for haemoglobin (Hb), malaria smears, and HIV antibody testing. Overall HIV seroprevalence was 26.1% (743/2844) (95% confidence interval (CI): 24.5-27.7) and in bivariate evaluation was significantly associated with anaemia (Hb <11 g/dl) (risk ratio (RR) 1.8), malarial parasitaemia (RR 1.6), fever (axillary temperature > or =37.5 degrees C at screening) (RR 1.6), a history of being treated for either vaginal discharge (RR 1.5) or tuberculosis (RR 1.6), reported alcohol consumption (RR 1.6), being an unmarried multigravida (RR 2.2) or a history of the most recent child having died (RR 2.0). Poisson regression analysis for all women identified 5 significant factors independently associated with HIV seropositivity: anaemia (adjusted RR 1.7; 95% CI 1.3-2.0), malarial parasitaemia (adjusted RR 1.7; 95% CI 1.4-2.0), a history of being treated for vaginal discharge (adjusted RR 1.5; 95% CI 1.1-2.0), fever (adjusted RR 2.0; 95% CI 1.3-3.2) and reported alcohol consumption (adjusted RR 1.6; 95% CI 1.1-2.5). Multigravidae women whose most recent child had died were also more likely to be HIV seropositive (adjusted RR 1.9; 95% CI 1.7-2.8). Only 5.5% (156/2844) of the women had none of these risk factors, of whom 12% (18/156) were HIV(+). Even though the model containing the 5 identified factors fitted the data well (goodness-of-fit chi2=18.41, P=0.10), its collective capacity to predict HIV infection was poor; while 74% of the truly positive women were correctly predicted positive by the model, 52% of the truly negative women were misclassified. Among pregnant women attending the ANC in western Kenya, we were unable to identify a subgroup at risk of HIV infection using non-serological information, indicating that wherever possible universal access to voluntary HIV counselling and testing would be preferable to targeted screening.

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