Virological profile of pregnant HIV positive women with high levels of CD4 count in low income settings: Can viral load help as eligibility criteria for maternal triple ARV prophylaxis (WHO 2010 option B)?
Introduction: The objective of the study was to determine HIV-1 RNA load profile during pregnancy and assess the eligibility for the maternal triple antiretroviral prophylaxis. It was an observational cohort of pregnant HIV positive women ignorant of antiretroviral therapy with CD4 cell count of > 350/mm3 Methods: Routine CD4 cell count assessment in HIV positive pregnant women completed by non exclusive measurement of the viral load by PCR /ARN in those with CD4 cell count > 350/mm3. Exclusion criteria: highly active antiretroviral therapy prior to pregnancy. Results: Between January and December 2010, CD4 cell count was systematically performed in all pregnant women diagnosed as HIV-infected (n=266) in a referral center of 25 antenatal clinics. 63% (N=170) had CD4 cell count > 350/mm3, median: 528 (IQR: 421-625). 145 underwent measurement of viral load by PCR/RNA at a median gestational of 23 weeks of pregnancy (IQR: 19-28). Median viral load 4.4log10/ml, IQR (3.5-4.9).19/145(13%) had an undetectable viral load of=1.8log10/ml. 89/145(61%) had a viral load of = 4 log10/ml and were eligible for maternal triple ARV prophylaxis. Conclusion: More than 6 in 10 pregnant HIV positive women with CD4 cell count of > 350/mm3 may require triple antiretroviral for prophylaxis of MTCT. Regardless of cost, such results are conclusive and may be considered in HIV high burden countries for universal access to triple antiretroviral prophylaxis in order to move towards virtual elimination of HIV MTCT.
Key words: Pregnant women, HIV positive, viral load, CV4, low income, virology profile, ARV, Cameroon