Pregnancy outcomes in adolescents in the UK and Ireland growing up with HIV


Correspondence: Dr Julia Kenny, Department of Infectious Diseases and Microbiology, Institute of Child Health, 30 Guilford Street, London WC1N 1EH, UK. Tel: 0207 905 2892; fax: 0207 905 2882; e-mail:



Adolescents with HIV infection acquired perinatally or in early childhood are becoming sexually active, but little is known about fertility and pregnancy outcomes. Multicentre data on pregnancy outcomes in this population are described here.


A retrospective case note review of pregnant women with perinatal/early acquired HIV infection, conceiving before 1 September 2009 and attending participating centres in the UK and Ireland, was carried out.


Among 252 women with perinatal/early acquired infection aged 12 years and older under follow-up in 21 centres, 42 pregnancies were reported in 30 women (19 women with a single pregnancy, 10 women with two pregnancies, and one woman with three pregnancies). Fifteen women (50%) had previous AIDS-defining diagnoses. The median age at first reported pregnancy was 18 years (range 14–22 years). Of the 42 pregnancies, 34 (81%) were reportedly unplanned, 31 (74%) involved regular partners, and in 21 (50%) of the 42 pregnancies the partners were reported to be unaware of maternal HIV status. Fifteen of the 42 pregnancies (36%) were electively terminated, six of the 42 (14%) resulted in first-trimester miscarriages and 21 of the 42 (50%) resulted in live births. Maternal viral load was detectable close to delivery in seven of 21 pregnancies (33%). Four infants required neonatal intensive care, three of whom were delivered preterm. One infant is HIV infected, there are ongoing concerns about the development of three of 21 infants (14%), and two of 21 (10%) have been fostered.


Despite access to ongoing sexual health and contraceptive services, unplanned pregnancies are occurring in young women growing up with HIV. Pregnancy care and prevention of onward transmission require complex case management for this emerging population.