Treatment Failure, Drug Resistance, and CD4 T-Cell Count Decline among Postpartum Women on Antiretroviral Therapy in South Africa

Christopher J. Hoffmann, Silvia Cohn, Fildah Mashabela, Jennifer D. Hoffmann, Helen McIlleron, Paolo Denti, David W. Haas, Kelly E. Dooley, Neil A. Martinson, Richard E. Chaisson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: We assessed HIV RNA suppression, resistance, and CD4 T-cell count 12 months postpartum among pregnant women retained in care in an observational cohort study. Methods: We prospectively followed two groups of HIV-infected pregnant women - with or without tuberculosis - recruited from prenatal clinics in South Africa. Women who received antiretroviral therapy during pregnancy and reported being on therapy 12 months postpartum were included. Serum samples from women with HIV viremia 12 months postpartum were tested for drug resistance. Results: Of 103 women in the study, median age and CD4 T-cell count at enrollment were 29 years [interquartile range (IQR): 26-32] and 317 cells per cubic millimeter (IQR: 218-385), respectively; 43 (42%) had tuberculosis at baseline. During pregnancy, 87% of the women achieved an HIV RNA <400 copies per milliliter compared with 71% at 12 months postpartum (P < 0.001). Factors independently associated with an HIV RNA <400 copies per milliliter at 12 months were age ≥30 years, detectable plasma efavirenz concentration, and HIV RNA <400 copies per milliliter while pregnant; there was a trend toward both a detectable viral load and peripartum depression. HIV drug resistance results were available from 25 women, and 12 (48%) had major drug resistance mutations. CD4 T-cell count declined a median of 13 cells per cubic millimeter (IQR: -66 to 140) from delivery to 12 months in women with viremia at 12 months. Conclusions: Success with maintaining virologic control declined postpartum among HIV-infected women who remained in care and on antiretroviral therapy, and CD4 T-cell count decline and drug resistance were common.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)31-37
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016


  • HIV
  • HIV drug resistance
  • postnatal depression
  • postpartum
  • pregnancy
  • virologic failure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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