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J Perinatol. 2010 Nov;30(11):717-23. doi: 10.1038/jp.2010.31. Epub 2010 Mar 25.

Risk factors of HIV vertical transmission in a cohort of women under a PMTCT program at three peri-urban clinics in a resource-poor setting.

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  • 1Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, University of Zimbabwe, Harare, Zimbabwe.



To identify the risk factors of HIV vertical transmission in pregnant women.


Observational cohort study. Between 2002 and 2003, 479 HIV-infected pregnant women in a PMTCT (prevention of the mother-to-child transmission) program were followed up with their infants at delivery, until 15 months with infant HIV testing.


Of these 281 infants had a definitive HIV result by 15 months of age, and 31.7% of the infants become HIV infected. In univariate analysis the risk factor identified were presence of vaginal discharge, genital itchiness, genital ulcers, dysuria, abnormal breast and vaginal infections (Trichomonas, Bacteria vaginosis and Candida) in the mother at enrolment. In multivariate analysis vaginal infections risk ratio (RR) 1.72(1.03-2.88) and abnormal breast RR 4.36(2.89-6.58) were predictors of HIV vertical transmission.


There is need to screen for vaginal infections (Trichomonas, Bacteria vaginosis and Candida) and examine pregnant women for mastitis to identify women at risk of HIV vertical transmission for prevention.

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