Introduction: maternal anaemia is a major public health problem in developing countries. Data suggests that anaemia contributes to the progression of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)-infection. The aim of this study was to investigate if pregnancy was an aggravating factor for anaemia among HIV-positive women on anti-retroviral treatment (ART). Methods: we analyzed data of all HIV-positive women aged 18-49 years receiving ART at Themba Lethu Clinic, Helen Joseph Hospital, Johannesburg, South Africa, from 1st April 2004-30t hApril 2011. HIV-positive pregnant women were matched with non-pregnant women using the year of initiation of treatment. The outcome of interest ´anaemia´ was defined as "no anaemia", “anaemia" and "moderate/severe anaemia". We fitted an ordered logistic regression model to predict the likelihood of having severe/moderate anaemia versus no anaemia. We included pregnancy status as a predictor of the outcome and controlled the effect of other covariates in the analysis. Results: the study included 236 HIV positive patients, of which half (n=118, 50%) were pregnant. At baseline, about (n=143, 60%) of patients were anaemic. The proportion of pregnant women classified as anaemic (anaemia, moderate/severe) differed significantly (p=0.02) from that of non-pregnant women. The following characteristics were significantly associated with anaemia at baseline: Body mass index (BMI) category (p=0.01); World Health Organization (WHO) stage (p=0.001) and CD4 count (p=0.001). Seven months after initiation of treatment, the proportion of HIV positive women with anaemia decreased significantly. Conclusion: anaemia is a significant risk factor for untoward health outcomes, especially among HIV-positive pregnant women. Early ART access might result in a significant decrease in anaemia in pregnancy.
- Themba Lethu Clinic