Maryanne Ibrahim 1 , 2 , 3 , Kenneth Maswabi 3 , Gbolahan Ajibola 3 , Sikhulile Moyo 3 , Michael D Hughes 3 , 4 , Oganne Batlang 3 , Maureen Sakoi 3 , Chloe Auletta‐Young 5 , Laura Vaughan 5 , Shahin Lockman 3 , 6 , Patrick Jean‐Philippe 7 , Xu Yu 8 , Matthias Lichterfeld 8 , Daniel R Kuritzkes 6 , Joseph Makhema 3 , Roger L Shapiro , 3 , 5
29 May 2018
Most African countries perform infant HIV testing at 6 weeks or later. The addition of targeted testing at birth may improve retention in care, treatment outcomes and survival for HIV‐infected infants.
HIV‐exposed infants were screened as part of the Early Infant Treatment ( EIT) study in Botswana. Screened infants were ≥35 weeks gestational age and ≥2000 g at birth. Risk factors for mother‐to‐child transmission ( MTCT) were assessed by maternal obstetric card or verbally. Risk factors included <8 weeks ART in pregnancy, last known CD4 <250 cells/mm 3, last known HIV RNA >400 copies/mL, poor maternal ART adherence, lack of maternal zidovudine ( ZDV) in labour, or lack of infant post‐exposure prophylaxis. Infants underwent dried blood spot testing by Roche Cobas Ampliprep/Cobas Taqman HIV‐1 qualitative PCR.
From April 2015 to April 2016, 2303 HIV‐exposed infants were tested for HIV in the EIT study. Of these, 369 (16%) were identified as high risk for HIV infection by information available at birth, and 12 (0.5% overall, 3.25% of high risk) were identified as HIV positive at birth. All 12 positive infants were identified as high risk at the time of screening, and only 2 risk factors were required to identify all positive infants: either <8 weeks of maternal ART in pregnancy (75%) or lack of maternal HIV suppression at last test (25%).
In utero MTCT occurred only among infants identified as high risk at delivery, using information available from the mother or obstetric record. Birth testing that targets high‐risk infants based on maternal ART receipt is likely to identify the majority of in utero HIV transmissions, and allows early ART initiation for these infants.