Antiretroviral therapy during pregnancy and premature birth: analysis of Swiss data


Professor Christoph Rudin, Division of Infectious Diseases, University Children's Hospital, Roemergasse, 8, CH-4058, Basel, Switzerland. Tel: +41 61 685 6565; fax: +41 61 685 6019; e-mail:



There is an ongoing debate as to whether combined antiretroviral treatment (cART) during pregnancy is an independent risk factor for prematurity in HIV-1-infected women.


The aim of the study was to examine (1) crude effects of different ART regimens on prematurity, (2) the association between duration of cART and duration of pregnancy, and (3) the role of possibly confounding risk factors for prematurity.


We analysed data from 1180 pregnancies prospectively collected by the Swiss Mother and Child HIV Cohort Study (MoCHiV) and the Swiss HIV Cohort Study (SHCS).


Odds ratios for prematurity in women receiving mono/dual therapy and cART were 1.8 [95% confidence interval (CI) 0.85–3.6] and 2.5 (95% CI 1.4–4.3) compared with women not receiving ART during pregnancy (P=0.004). In a subgroup of 365 pregnancies with comprehensive information on maternal clinical, demographic and lifestyle characteristics, there was no indication that maternal viral load, age, ethnicity or history of injecting drug use affected prematurity rates associated with the use of cART. Duration of cART before delivery was also not associated with duration of pregnancy.


Our study indicates that confounding by maternal risk factors or duration of cART exposure is not a likely explanation for the effects of ART on prematurity in HIV-1-infected women.