Background: Previous studies suggest that untreated human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection is associated with a reduced incidence of pregnancy, but studies of the effect of antiretroviral treatment (ART) on pregnancy incidence have been inconsistent.
Methods: Routine data from health services in the Western Cape province of South Africa were linked to identify pregnancies during 2007-2017 and maternal HIV records. The time from the first (index) pregnancy outcome date to the next pregnancy was modeled using Cox proportional hazards models.
Results: During 2007-2017, 1 042 647 pregnancies were recorded. In all age groups, pregnancy incidence rates were highest in women who had started ART, lower in HIV-negative women, and lowest in ART-naive HIV-positive women. In multivariable analysis, after controlling for the most recent CD4+ T-cell count, pregnancy incidence rates in HIV-positive women receiving ART were higher than those in untreated HIV-positive women (adjusted hazard ratio, 1.63; 95% confidence interval, 1.59-1.67) and those in HIV-negative women.
Conclusion: Among women who have recently been pregnant, receipt of ART is associated with high rates of second pregnancy. Better integration of family planning into HIV care services is needed.
Keywords: HIV/AIDS; antiretroviral therapy; pregnancy incidence; sub-Saharan Africa.
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