-- Robert Preidt
TUESDAY, Feb. 1 (HealthDay News) -- HIV-positive teens and young
women are more likely to get pregnant and to have pregnancy
complications than are those who do not have HIV, a new study
Researchers from Johns Hopkins analyzed the records of 181
HIV-positive female patients, aged 13 to 24, who had been treated
at four hospitals over 12 years. More than a third of them became
pregnant, some more than once, for a total of 96 pregnancies.
The rate of premature births among the HIV-infected mothers was
34 percent, compared with 22 percent for mothers in the general
population, the study reported in the Feb. 1 issue of the
Journal of the American Medical Association. Those with HIV who became pregnant also had a higher rate of miscarriage than pregnant women in the general population -- 14 percent vs. 9 percent.
Pregnancies occurred in 28 of the 130 females who were infected
with HIV at birth and in 38 of the 51 who became HIV-positive
through high-risk behavior such as unsafe sex or injection drug
use. The pregnancy rate of those infected through high-risk
behavior was seven times higher than that of those who were
infected with HIV at birth, the study found.
Those who'd acquired HIV through high-risk behavior also had
more repeated pregnancies than did those who were infected at birth
-- 37 percent vs. 14 percent. Females infected at birth were four
times more likely to terminate a pregnancy than were those with
behaviorally acquired HIV -- 41 percent vs. 10 percent.
The findings raise a number of concerns, the researchers said.
They show that HIV-infected teens and young adults continue to have
unsafe sex and that pregnancies place these already vulnerable
young women and their fetuses in serious danger for
The findings also "suggest that teens who were infected with HIV
later in life may engage in different sexual behaviors than those
infected at birth," Dr. Kelly Gebo, an infectious disease
specialist and the study's senior investigator, said in a Hopkins
"Further analysis into these differences will help us find ways to prevent unwanted pregnancies and avoid complications from planned ones," Gebo said.
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has
HIV and pregnancy.
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