Objective: To assess the influence of pregnancy on the course of HIV infection by comparing the behaviour of total lymphocyte counts and lymphocyte subsets (CD4+ and CD8+ and their ratio) in a cohort of infected pregnant women. Setting: Tertiary referral centre for high risk obstetrics and infectious diseases in pregnancy. Patients and methods: A prospective study was designed, HIV infected women being enrolled at the beginning of pregnancy and sampled each trimester and in the puerperium. As controls, a group of non-pregnant HIV-infected women, cross-matched for age, risk factors and stage of disease were included and similarly evaluated in the same period. Results: All the parameters, when longitudinally evaluated, were stable during gestation. Compared with non-pregnant subjects, patients had higher CD4+ counts at the beginning and increased values of total lymphocytes count and subsets during the puerperium. Antepartum and postpartum risk factors such as drug abuse, smoking, antiretroviral therapy, length of gestation, maternal complications and HIV status of the neonate were not influential on the total lymphocytes counts and subsets. Discussion: According to this data, pregnancy per se seems to have a negligible influence over the course of HIV infection, at least as far as immune parameters are concerned.
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Accepted: August 27, 1999
Received in revised form: August 2, 1999
Received: June 21, 1999
© 2000 Published by Elsevier Inc.