Reduction in Perinatal HIV Infections in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, in the Era of More Effective Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission Interventions (2004–2012)

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Abstract

Objective:

To describe a trend in perinatal HIV transmission associated with the implementation of rapidly changing prevention of mother to child transmission (PMTCT) interventions from 2004 to 2012.

Method:

Retrospective analysis of infant HIV polymerase chain reaction results of infants from 2004 to 2012 archived from a Laboratory Information System.

Setting:

KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

Main Outcome Measure:

HIV infection in infants aged 4–8 weeks.

Results:

The proportion of 4- to 8-week-old infants who tested HIV polymerase chain reaction positive decreased significantly (P < 0.0001) from 27.5% in 2004 to 2.9% in 2012. The reduction rates in perinatal HIV infections in 4- to 8-week-old HIV-exposed infants decreased significantly (P < 0.0001) by 48.7% following single-dose nevirapine (sdNVP) (2005 to April 2008), 68.4% with zidovudine from 28 weeks and sdNVP together with triple antiretroviral therapy for women with CD4+ cell count < 200 cells/mm3 (May 2008–April 2010), and 89.5% with zidovudine from 14 weeks, sdNVP, and triple antiretroviral therapy for women with CD4+ cell count < 350 cells/mm3 (May 2010–December 2012).

Conclusions:

We show an almost 10-fold reduction in mother to child transmission from 2004 to 2012 in infants aged 4–8 weeks during a rapid implementation of more complex and robust PMTCT interventions. The significant reductions in mother to child transmission in the South African PMTCT program are encouraging for a middle-income country with the second highest antenatal HIV prevalence in the world.

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