Reducing Maternal Mortality for HIV-Infected Pregnant and Postpartum Women


While measurement and attribution of maternal mortality is challenging, available evidence indicates that HIV-infected pregnant and postpartum women have an increased risk of death compared to their uninfected peers. Studies have shown that HIV is responsible for a large proportion of indirect maternal deaths in countries with high HIV prevalence and that in Africa, the relative risk of pregnancy-related death among HIV-infected women ranges from two to eight-times greater than in non-infected women. There is also evidence of increased risk of direct obstetric complications, such as sepsis, among HIV-infected pregnant women.

Despite this evidence, understanding of the contribution of ART and other interventions in reducing maternal mortality is limited. To identify and better understand the evidence around efforts to reduce mortality among HIV-infected pregnant and postpartum women, USAID's Africa Bureau (USAID/AFR) and their project ASH, in collaboration with colleagues from USAID's Global Health Bureau (the Office of Health, Infectious Diseases and Nutrition [USAID/GH/HIDN] and the Office of HIV/AIDS [USAID/GH/OHA]), undertook three complementary systematic literature reviews. This brief is a summary of review findings and recommendations for policymakers and program managers.