Original Research

Prevalence, incidence and seroconversion of HIV and Syphilis infections among pregnant women of South Africa

Monjurul Hoque, Muhammad E. Hoque, Guido van Hal, Somaya Buckus
Southern African Journal of Infectious Diseases | Vol 36, No 1 | a296 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajid.v36i1.296 | © 2021 Monjurul Hoque, Muhammad E. Hoque, Guido van Hal, Somaya Buckus | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 29 April 2021 | Published: 24 November 2021

About the author(s)

Monjurul Hoque, Kwadabeka Community Health Centre, Durban, South Africa
Muhammad E. Hoque, Research Department, Management College of Southern Africa, Durban, South Africa
Guido van Hal, Department of Social Epidemiology and Health Policy, University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium
Somaya Buckus, Kwadabeka Community Health Centre, Durban, South Africa


Background: Pregnant women in South Africa suffer from HIV and syphilis infections resulting in negative pregnancy outcomes. Little is known about the prevalence, incidence, seroconversion, and associated risk factors for those attending a midwife run obstetric unit.

Methods: A retrospective cohort study was undertaken among pregnant women attending antenatal clinic from January to December 2018. Logistic regression was conducted to determine the risk factors for HIV and syphilis.

Results: The prevalence of HIV and syphilis were 44.3% (95% confidence interval [CI]; 41.6:46.7) and 3.8% (95% CI; 3.1:4.1), respectively. The seroconversion and incidence for HIV were 4.0% (95% CI; 3.6:4.6) and 17.1 per 100 person-years, and for syphilis 2.6% (95% CI; 2.3:2.8) and 10.9 per 100 person-years, respectively. Significant predictors for HIV prevalence were ages: ages < 20 years, Odds ratio (OR) = 0.11 (p < 0.05), ages 20–24 years, OR = 0.19 (p < 0.05) and ages 25–29 years, OR = 0.38 (p < 0.05); gestational age: second trimester, OR = 0.68 (p < 0.05) and non-reactive syphilis, OR = 0.45 (p < 0.05). Age was the predictor for HIV incidence or seroconversion (age < 20 year, OR = 0.12, p = 0.01). Predictors for syphilis were ages < 20 years, OR = 0.11 (p < 0.05), ages 20–24 years and HIV status. Gestational age > 27 weeks were nine times (OR = 9.2, p = 0.03) more likely to seroconvert to syphilis.

Conclusions: The present study found high rates of seroprevalence, seroconversion and incidence of HIV and syphilis among pregnant women.


antenatal care; booking visit; Kwadabeka; rapid test; HIV; syphilis


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