Ghazala Mahmud, Shazra Abbas


Background: HIV is an epidemic quite unlike any other, combining the problems of a lifelong
medical disease with immense social, psychological, economic and public health consequences.
Since we are living in a global village where human interactions has become fast and frequent,
diseases like HIV are no more alien to us. HIV/AIDS in Pakistan is slowly gaining recognition as a
public health issue of great importance. Objectives of this study were to determine the prevalence of
HIV in pregnant women identified with a high risk factor/behaviour at a tertiary care hospital. It is a
Descriptive study. Method: All pregnant women attending antenatal booking clinic were assessed
via a pre-designed ‘Risk assessment questionnaire’. Women identified with a risk factor were offered
HIV Rapid screening test (Capillus HIV1/2). Positive (reactive) results on screening test were
confirmed with ELISA. Results: During the study period (March 2007–May 2008), out of 5263
antenatal bookings 785 (14%) women were identified with a risk factor. HIV screening test was done
in 779 (99%), and 6 women refused testing. Three women (0.3%) were found positive (reactive) on
screening. Two out of 3 women were confirmed positive (0.2%) on ELISA. Husbands of both
women were tested and one found positive (migrant from Dubai). Second women had history of
blood transfusion. Her husband was HIV negative. During the study period, in addition to 2 pregnant
women diagnosed as HIV positive through ANC risk screening, 6 confirmed HIV positive women,
found pregnant were referred from ‘HIV Treatment Centre’, Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences
(PIMS) to Prevention of Parent to Child Transmission (PPTCT) centre for obstetric care. Spouses of
5 out of 6 had history of working abroad and extramarital sexual relationships. All positive (8)
women were referred to PPTCT centre for further management. Conclusion: A simple ‘Risk
Assessment Questionnaire’ can help us in identifying women who need HIV screening. Sexual
transmission still remains the commonest cause of HIV transmission.
Keywords: HIV/AIDS, PPTCT, Antiretroviral drugs, Pregnancy, Antenatal, STD, Risk Factor


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