Increased vertical transmission of human immunodeficiency virus from hepatitis C virus-coinfected mothers. Women and Infants Transmission Study

J Infect Dis. 1997 Aug;176(2):414-20. doi: 10.1086/514058.


To determine if hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection affects vertical transmission of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), 487 HIV-infected pregnant women in the prospective, multicenter, Women and Infants Transmission Study had HCV antibody (anti-HCV by second-generation ELISA) and HCV RNA (by quantitative polymerase chain reaction) measured in peripartum maternal plasma; 161 (33%) were anti-HCV-positive. HIV vertical transmission occurred from 42 HCV-infected mothers (26.1%) versus 53 HCV-uninfected mothers (16.3%; odds radio [OR], 1.82; P = .01). In a logistic regression model that included maternal drug use, a potential confounder, HCV infection was marginally associated with perinatal HIV transmission (OR, 1.64; P = .05), whereas drug use was not. Women who transmitted HIV had higher levels of HCV RNA (median, 721,254 copies/mL) than those who did not (337,561 copies/mL; P = .01). Maternal HCV infection is associated with increased HIV vertical transmission. Further studies are needed to ascertain if HCV directly affects perinatal HIV transmission or is a marker for another factor, such as maternal drug use.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anti-HIV Agents / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • HIV Antibodies / blood
  • HIV Infections / complications
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy
  • HIV Infections / transmission*
  • HIV-1* / immunology
  • Hepacivirus / genetics
  • Hepacivirus / isolation & purification
  • Hepatitis C / complications*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infectious Disease Transmission, Vertical*
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / drug therapy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / virology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • RNA, Viral / blood
  • Risk Factors
  • Zidovudine / therapeutic use


  • Anti-HIV Agents
  • HIV Antibodies
  • RNA, Viral
  • Zidovudine