The mother-to-child HIV transmission epidemic in Europe: Evolving in the East and established in the West

Claire Thorne, C. Giaquinto, O. Rampon, V. Giacomet, A. De Rossi, I. Grosch-Worner, J. Mok, I. Bates, I. de Jose, F. Hawkins, M. C. Garcia-Rodriguez, C. Ladron de Guevara, J. Ma Pena, J. Gonzalez Garcia, J. R. Arribas Lopez, F. Asensi-Botet, M. C. Otero, D. Perez-Tamarit, A. Orti, M. J. San MiguelH. Scherpbier, M. Kreyenbroek, K. Boer, A. B. Bohlin, E. Belfrage, L. Naver, J. Levy, M. Hainaut, A. Peltier, T. Goetghebuer, P. Barlow, A. Ferrazin, D. Bassetti, A. de Maria, C. Gotta, A. Mur, M. A. Lopez-Vilchez, A. Paya, R. Carreras, N. H.Valerius

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OBJECTIVES: To carry out an epidemiological analysis of the emerging epidemic in an Eastern European country and to compare the approach to prevention of mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) with that in Western Europe. DESIGN: Prospective cohort study established in 1985 in Western Europe and extended to Ukraine in 2000. METHODS: Data on 5967 HIV-infected pregnant women and their infants (1251 from Ukraine and 4716 from Western/Central Europe) was analysed. Factors associated with transmission were identified with logistic regression. RESULTS: HIV-infection among pregnant women enrolled in Western European centres has shifted from being largely injecting drug use (IDU)-related to heterosexually-acquired; in Ukraine IDU also gradually declined with women increasingly identified without specific risk factors. In Ukraine in 2000-2004 most (80%) women received single dose nevirapine (sdNVP) and/or short-course zidovudine prophylaxis [MTCT rate 4.2%; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.8-8.0 for sdNVP with short-course zidovudine]; 2% (n = 27) received antenatal HAART and 33% (n = 418) delivered by elective caesarean section (CS); in Western European centres 72% of women received HAART (MTCT rate 1.0%; 95% CI, 0.4-1.9) and 66% delivered by elective CS during the same period. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings indicate distinct differences in the epidemics in pregnant women across Europe. The evolution of the MTCT epidemic in Ukraine does not appear to be following the same pattern as that in Western Europe in the 1980s and 1990s. Although uptake of preventive MTCT prophylaxis has been rapid in both Western Europe and Ukraine, substantial challenges remain in the more resource-constrained setting in Eastern Europe. © 2006 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1419-1427
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2006


  • Antiretroviral agents
  • Epidemiology
  • Europe
  • Mother-to-child transmission
  • Pregnancy
  • Prevention of perinatal transmission
  • Ukraine
  • Vertical transmission


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