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Skinmed. 2007 Jan-Feb;6(1):18-23.

AIDS in pregnancy, part I: epidemiology, testing, effect on disease progression, opportunistic infections, and risk of vertical transmission.

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University of Athens, Department of Dermatology, A. Sygros Hospital for Dermatological and Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Athens, Greece.


Contribution of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome/human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection to pregnancy mortality rates is difficult to estimate; however, it appears to be one of the leading causes of death, at least in developing countries. Prenatal HIV testing affords the best opportunity for the prevention of perinatal HIV transmission. Rapid HIV testing substantially increases the proportion of women who obtain HIV results compared with conventional enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay testing, thus maximizing perinatal HIV interventions. Pregnancy appears to have no effect on the course of HIV disease. Infections due to a variety of pathogens influence the clinical course of the HIV infection and may complicate pregnancy and increase maternal mortality. The main risk factors for mother-to-child HIV transmission are high maternal viral load and CD4 cell count <700 cells/mm3. The main protective factor is antiretroviral therapy.

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