Unintended pregnancy and viral suppression in pregnant women living with HIV

Annie M. Dude*, Emily S. Miller, Patricia M. Garcia, Lynn M. Yee

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background: Approximately half of pregnancies in the United States are unintended; the likelihood of unintended pregnancy may be even higher for women living with HIV. Women with unintended pregnancies often have worse obstetrical outcomes than women who planned their pregnancies, although the relationship of unintended pregnancy to outcomes among women living with HIV in the United States is unknown. Objective: This study aimed to determine whether pregnancy intendedness among women living with HIV attending a specialty obstetrical clinic was associated with achievement of maternal viral suppression by delivery, a key component of preventing perinatal transmission of HIV. Study Design: This is a retrospective cohort study of pregnant women living with HIV who received prenatal care and had a live-born infant at a single tertiary center (2007–2014). Women were asked as part of routine clinical care whether they intended their current pregnancy. Women who expressed at their initial obstetrician visit that their pregnancy was mistimed or undesired were determined to have an unintended pregnancy. Women were considered virally suppressed when the HIV RNA viral load was <20 copies/mL. We examined whether pregnancy intendedness was associated with whether the viral load was undetectable at the time of delivery. We also determined whether women with unintended pregnancies were less likely to be on antiretroviral therapy at the time of entry to prenatal care. Wilcoxon rank-sum tests and chi-square tests were used for bivariable analyses, and logistic and linear regression were used for multivariable analyses. Results: Of the 215 women who met inclusion criteria, 201 (93.5%) had complete data on pregnancy intendedness. Of these 201 women, 137 (68.2%) had an unintended pregnancy. Unintended pregnancy was associated with lower odds of viral suppression at delivery (95.3% of women with planned pregnancies were virally suppressed at delivery compared with 76.6% of women with unplanned pregnancies; adjusted odds ratio, 0.22; 95% CI, 0.05–0.89, after adjusting for potential confounders). In this study, 48.9% of women with unintended pregnancies presented later in pregnancy for prenatal care (after the first trimester) compared with 21.9% of women with intended pregnancies (P<.001). Women with unintended pregnancies were also less likely to be on antiretroviral therapy before entry to prenatal care (20.4% of women with unintended pregnancies vs 50.0% of women with intended pregnancies; adjusted odds ratio, 0.35; 95% CI, 0.15–0.81; P<.001). Conclusion: Among pregnant women living with HIV, women with an unintended pregnancy were less likely to be on antiretroviral therapy before initiating prenatal care and were less likely to be virally suppressed at the time of delivery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100300
JournalAmerican journal of obstetrics & gynecology MFM
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2021


  • HIV
  • antiretroviral therapy
  • unintended pregnancy
  • viral suppression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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