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Keywords:

  • anaemia;
  • intermittent preventive treatment;
  • mother-to-child transmission;
  • placental malaria;
  • pregnancy

Objectives

Malaria infection may impact on mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of HIV-1. Prevention of malaria in pregnancy could thus potentially affect MTCT of HIV. We studied the impact of intermittent preventive treatment during pregnancy (IPTp) on HIV-1 MTCT in southern Mozambique.

Methods

A total of 207 HIV-positive Mozambican pregnant women were enrolled in the study as part of a randomized placebo-controlled trial of two-dose sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) IPTp in women receiving single-dose nevirapine to prevent MTCT of HIV. HIV RNA viral load, maternal anaemia and peripheral and placental malaria were assessed at delivery. Infant HIV status was determined by DNA polymerase chain reaction (PCR) at 1 month of age.

Results

There were 19 transmissions of HIV in 153 mother–infant pairs. IPTp with SP did not have a significant impact on MTCT (11.8% in the SP group vs. 13.2% in the placebo group; P=0.784) or on maternal HIV RNA viral load [16 312 (interquartile range {IQR} 4076–69 296) HIV-1 RNA copies/mL in the SP group vs. 18 274 (IQR 5471–74 104) copies/mL in the placebo group; P=0.715]. In multivariate analysis, maternal HIV RNA viral load [adjusted odds ratio (AOR) 19.9; 95% confidence interval (CI) 2.3–172; P=0.006] and anaemia (haematocrit <33%; AOR 7.5; 95% CI 1.7–32.4; P=0.007) were independent risk factors for MTCT. Placental malaria was associated with a decrease in MTCT (AOR 0.23; 95% CI 0.06–0.89; P=0.034).

Conclusions

IPTp with SP was not associated with a significant impact on MTCT of HIV. Maternal anaemia was an independent risk factor for MTCT.