Prevalence of HIV among pregnant women in three HIV-affected districts in Sindh, Pakistan


Objective: To conduct a community-based cross-sectional survey to determine the prevalence of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) among pregnant women in taluka Ratodero, Larkana, and two adjacent talukas: Sajawal, district Kambar Shahdadkot and Garhi Yasin, district Shikarpur.

Methods: The study was conducted among pregnant women in the three talukas of rural Sindh: Ratodero, Garhi Yasin, and Sajawal, from October 16, 2020 - December 23, 2020. A total of 1,157 pregnant women were interviewed at their homes and tested using the AlereTM HIV Combo rapid finger prick test. The study captured women's sociodemographic, economic, and health characteristics, including age, education, employment, number of children, home or hospital delivery, antenatal care use, antenatal trimester, history of blood transfusion, and HIV test result. Descriptive statistics were calculated: percentages for categorical variables and mean ± standard deviation (SD) for continuous variables.

Results: It was found that 0.35% (4/1,157) of women were HIV-positive, of which 3 were in Ratodero, Larkana, and 1 was in Garhi Yasin, Shikarpur. The average age of women was 28.7 ± 4.0 years. Most of the women (n=1067; 92.2%) of women did not attend a school, and 99.0% (n=1145) had never had a formal job. The average gestational age was 7.6 (±2.2) months. More than three-quarters of the women participating in the study (n=894; 77.3%) were not registered with a formal healthcare facility for antenatal care.