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Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2007 Sep;197(3 Suppl):S96-100.

Cesarean delivery for HIV-infected women: recommendations and controversies.

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  • 1Division of Reproductive Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA 30333, USA.


Two studies that were published in 1999 demonstrated that cesarean delivery before labor and before the rupture of membranes (elective cesarean delivery) reduces the risk of mother-to-child transmission of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). On the basis of these results, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the US Public Health Service recommend that HIV-infected pregnant women with plasma viral loads of >1000 copies per milliliter be counseled regarding the benefits of elective cesarean delivery. Since the release of these guidelines, the cesarean delivery rate among HIV-infected women in the United States has increased dramatically. Major postpartum morbidity is uncommon, and cesarean delivery among HIV-infected women is relatively safe and cost-effective. However, a number of important questions remain unanswered, including whether cesarean delivery has a role among HIV-infected women with low plasma viral loads or who receive combination antiretroviral regimens.

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