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Current HIV Research


ISSN (Print): 1570-162X
ISSN (Online): 1873-4251

Research Article

Pregnancy Among HIV-Serodiscordant Couples: Case Report of Vertical Transmission and Retrospective Case Series

Author(s): Bipasha Choudhury, Maria Stadnyk, Dolores Freire Jijon, Luke McLaughlin, Jamil N. Kanji, Carmen Charlton, Petra Smyczek, Wendy Vaudry, Stan Houston, Alena Tse-Chang and Michael T. Hawkes*

Volume 19, Issue 3, 2021

Published on: 31 December, 2020

Page: [269 - 276] Pages: 8

DOI: 10.2174/1570162X18999201231211658

Price: $65


Background: HIV transmission during pregnancy and breastfeeding among serodiscordant heterosexual couples represents an ongoing barrier to the elimination of vertical transmission of HIV-1 infection in Canada.

Objective: To report a case of vertical HIV transmission during breastfeeding and examine the prevalence of risk factors for HIV transmission in the pregnancy and postpartum periods among serodiscordant couples where the male partner is HIV positive and female partner HIV negative.

Methods: Case report and retrospective chart review of HIV-serodiscordant pregnant couples over an eight-year period in Edmonton, Canada.

Results: We report a case of maternal primary HIV infection during the postpartum period and vertical transmission to a nursing infant that went undetected until the infant presented with AIDS. We also report a series of 41 serodiscordant pregnant couples identified by our public health nurse between 2008 and 2016. Among HIV-infected male partners, 20 (49%) had a detectable viral load (VL) during their partner’s pregnancy and during breastfeeding, with median peak VL 4,700 copies/mL (range 49-120,000) and 5,100 copies/mL (range 40-120,000) during pregnancy and breastfeeding, respectively. None of the female partners seroconverted during pregnancy, but three seroconverted at 1.8, 2.4, and 6.9 years after delivery. No vertical transmission occurred.

Conclusion: Despite concerted attempts to minimize HIV transmission during pregnancy and breastfeeding in our well-resourced setting, residual transmission risk remains due to non-suppressed viral load within many HIV-serodiscordant pregnant couples.

Keywords: HIV, heterosexual transmission, vertical transmission, serodiscordant couple, prevention, pregnancy.

Graphical Abstract
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