HIV Case Notification Rates in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia over the Past Decade (2000–2009)
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES The rate of mother-to-child transmission of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) type 1 has been reported to be high in Saudi Arabia. We report the rate of such transmission among a cohort of HIV-infected women enrolled in an HIV program at a tertiary care facility in Riyadh. METHODS All HIV-infected women who became pregnant and delivered during their follow-up between January 1994 and June 2006 were included in this study. HIV viral load and CD4+ T-lymphocyte count near-term, the mode of delivery, and the HIV status of the newborn at 18 months were recorded. All women were counseled and managed according to the three-step PACTG 076 protocol. RESULTS Of 68 HIV-infected women in the cohort, 31 had 40 pregnancies; one aborted at 13 weeks gestation. The mode of delivery was elective cesarean delivery in 28 pregnancies (70%) at 36 weeks gestation, and 11 (27.5%) had normal spontaneous vaginal delivery. The median CD4+ T-lymphocyte count near-term was 536 cells per cubic millimeter and the median viral load for 25 pregnancies was 1646 copies/mL, with only nine pregnancies (22.5%) having viral loads of more than 1000 copies/mL. Fourteen pregnancies (35%) had undetectable HIV prior to delivery. All patients were taking antiretroviral therapy during pregnancy and delivery. All 39 newborns tested negative for HIV infection at the age of 18 months; none of the newborns was breastfed. CONCLUSIONS Contrary to previous local experience, diagnosis, management, and antiretroviral therapy almost eliminated mother-to-child transmission of HIV-1 in our patient population.