Objectives: Despite very low rates of vertical transmission of HIV in the UK overall, rates are higher among women starting antenatal antiretroviral therapy (ART) late. We investigated the timing of key elements of the care of HIV-positive pregnant women [antenatal care booking, HIV laboratory assessment (CD4 count and HIV viral load) and antenatal ART initiation], to assess whether clinical practice is changing in line with recommendations, and to investigate factors associated with delayed care.
Methods: We used the UK's National Study of HIV in Pregnancy and Childhood for 2009-2014. Data were analysed by fitting logistic regression and Cox proportional hazards models.
Results: A total of 5693 births were reported; 79.5% were in women diagnosed with HIV prior to that pregnancy. Median gestation at antenatal booking was 12.1 weeks [interquartile range (IQR) 10.0-15.6 weeks] and booking was significantly earlier during 2012-2014 vs. 2009-2011 (P < 0.001), although only in previously diagnosed women. Overall, 42.2% of pregnancies were booked late (≥ 13 gestational weeks). Among women not already on treatment, antenatal ART commenced at a median of 21.4 (IQR18.1-24.5) weeks and started significantly earlier in the most recent time period (P < 0.001). Compared with previously diagnosed women, those newly diagnosed during the current pregnancy booked later for antenatal care and started antenatal ART later (both P < 0.001). Multivariable analyses revealed demographic variations in access to or uptake of care, with groups including migrants and parous women initiating care later.
Conclusions: Although women are accessing antenatal and HIV care earlier in pregnancy, some continue to face barriers to timely initiation of antenatal care and ART.
Keywords: HIV; antenatal care; antiretroviral therapy; pregnancy; prevention of mother-to-child transmission.
© 2016 The Authors. HIV Medicine published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of British HIV Association.