Evaluation of an Emergency Prevention Program for Mother to Child Transmission of HIV in British Columbia
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INTRODUCTION: The objective of this study was to evaluate a province-wide program designed to identify HIV infection accurately and to prevent mother to child transmission among high-risk pregnant women of unknown serostatus. METHODS: Between 2000 and 2007, 347 high-risk women were identified through the Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) program implemented in 27 hospitals across British Columbia. Rates of HIV transmission and details of the implementation of prophylaxis kits were assessed. RESULTS: Of the 346 high-risk mother-infant pairs identified and included in the provincial program, 35.4% of the mothers and 95.7% of infants received antiretroviral therapy for prevention of vertical transmission. Of 309 pairs who subsequently underwent HIV testing, five mothers were found to be HIV positive, an infection rate of 16.2/1000 in this cohort; the overall rate in BC is 0.68/1000 births. One of the five infants born to an HIV positive mother was infected with HIV. DISCUSSION: The program was successful in identifying a subgroup of pregnant women at increased risk of HIV infection; however, mother to child transmission occurred in one of five cases (20%). To reduce the risk of mother to child HIV transmission in BC to the lowest possible level, additional strategies such as increasing uptake of prenatal screening and point-of-care testing in labour and delivery may need to be explored.
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