Despite the success of prevention of mother to child transmission (PMTCT) program in South Africa, the 30% HIV prevalence among women of childbearing age requires the PMTCT program to be maximally efficient to sustain gains in the prevention of vertical HIV transmission. We aimed to determine the immunologic and virologic status at entry into antenatal care (ANC) and at childbirth among HIV positive women who conceived under the CD4<500 cells/μl antiretroviral therapy (ART) eligibility threshold and universal test and treat (UTT) policies in the Gauteng province of South Africa.
We conducted a retrospective cohort study of 692 HIV positive adult (>18 years) postpartum women who gave birth between September 2016 and December 2017. Demographic, viral load (VL) and CD4 data at ANC start (3–9 months before delivery) and delivery (3 months before/after) were obtained from medical records of consenting women. We compared CD4�500 cell/μl and viral load (VL) suppression (<400 copes/ml) rates at ANC start and delivery among women with a pre-pregnancy ART, women known HIV positive but with in-pregnancy ART and newly diagnosed women with in-pregnancy ART. Predictors of having a high CD4 and suppressed VL were assessed by log-binomial regression.