Four Years of Natural History of HIV-1 Infection in African Women: A Prospective Cohort Study in Kigali (Rwanda), 1988–1993

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SummaryClinical features and mortality due to human immunodeficiency virus type-1 (HIV-1) infection in women are described as part of a prospective 4-year cohort study on perinatal transmission of HIV in Kigali, Rwanda. Two hundred fifteen HIV-seropositive (HIV+) and 216 HIV-seronegative (HIV-) pregnant women were enrolled at delivery between November 1988 and June 1989. Clinical information collected during systematic quarterly examinations was compared. HIV antibody tests were performed at delivery and CD4/CD8 lymphocyte counts at 15 days' postpartum. HIV- women who seroconverted during the follow-up period were excluded from the analysis of the comparison group starting at the date of seroconversion. At enrollment, all HIV+ women were asymptomatic for acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). Incidence of tuberculosis was 2.9 per 100 women-years (WY) after 4 years of follow-up in HIV+ women versus 0.2 per 100 WY among HIV- women (relative risk, 18.2; 95% confidence interval 2.4–137.0). Among HIV+ women, the incidence of AIDS (World Health Organization clinical AIDS definition) was 3.5 per 100 WY. The mortality rate was 4.4 per 100 WY among HIV + women versus 0.5 per 100 WY among HIV- women. Clinical AIDS was present in only half of the fatalities. Tuberculosis was a major cause of morbidity and mortality in these HIV + African women. An early diagnosis and an appropriate treatment or prevention of tuberculosis should improve the quality of life of HIV-infected patients in Africa.

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