Background and Objective: Certain liver diseases are uniquely associated with pregnancy,
whereas others are unrelated. Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy (HAART)-associated
hepatic toxicity is of increasing concern in the management of patients with HIV/AIDS. There is no
available data on whether the pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of liver damage and
chronic liver damage in HIV-positive women on HAART. We evaluated the effects of antiretroviral
drugs on the liver biochemical parameters in HIV-infected pregnant women.
Methods: Using a cross-sectional survey design, 171 women were exclusively screened for hepatitis
B and hepatitis C infections; grouped as 50 HIV seronegative pregnant women, 20 newly diagnosed
HIV-infected pregnant women (treatment-naïve), 51 HIV-infected pregnant women already
on HAART, 12 non-pregnant infected females (treatment-naive) and 38 non-pregnant HIV-infected
women on HAART. Liver biomarkers were determined using standard methods. Student’s t-test
and one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) followed by Tukey’s Post-HOC multiple comparison
tests were used to analyse the results.
Results: The Aspartate Transaminase (AST), Alanine Transaminase (ALT), Alkaline Phosphatase
(ALP) and Total Bilirubin (TB) levels in HIV-infected pregnant women on HAART were elevated.
The AST (29.40±4.35 U/L) of naïve HIV-infected pregnant women was significantly low (p<0.05)
compared to non-pregnant naive HIV-infected women with AST (53.36±5.92 U/L). Also, the ALP
(272.5±22.79 U/L) and TP (80.9±4.40 g/L) of naïve HIV-infected pregnant women were highly
significant (p<0.05) compared to non-pregnant naive HIV-infected women with ALP and TP levels
of (200.30±12.74 U/L) and (63.70±6.50) g/L respectively. On the basis of the trimester, HIVpositive
pregnant women on HAART had significantly higher levels of liver markers when compared
with that of HIVsero-negative pregnant women.
Interpretation and Conclusion: Pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of liver damage and
chronic liver damage in HIV-positive women on HAART.