Original Research

Anaemia in pregnancy in a setting of high HIV prevalence rates

Kay Tunkyi, Jagidesa Moodley
Southern African Journal of Infectious Diseases | Vol 32, No 4 | a40 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajid.v32i4.40 | © 2019 Kay Tunkyi | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 14 May 2019 | Published: 31 December 2017

About the author(s)

Kay Tunkyi, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Jagidesa Moodley, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

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Background: Although there is much literature on anaemia in pregnancy, there are limited data on anaemia specific to HIV in pregnancy. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of anaemia among HIV-infected antenatal attendees at their first visit.

Methods: This was a secondary analysis of 2 000 antenatal attendees enrolled into a study on anaemia in pregnancy and was carried out at a regional hospital from 2012–2014. Demographic and clinical data including anaemia, perinatal and maternal outcomes of HIV infected women were analysed.

Results: Of the 2 000 recruited, 854 (42.7%) were anaemic, 943 (47.2%) were infected with HIV, and 609 (64.6%) HIV-infected women had anaemia. There was a significant difference in the prevalence of anaemia in HIV-infected patients on antiretroviral (ARV) treatment compared to untreated patients (41.4% vs 92.1%; p < 0.0001). Mild grades of anaemia were common in HIV-infected patients on ARVs, while moderate to severe grades were most common in patients who were not on ARVs. Besides birthweight and hypertensive disorders of pregnancy, there was no significant difference in neonatal and maternal outcomes irrespective of duration of ARV treatment.

Conclusions: There was a high prevalence of anaemia among HIV-infected, untreated pregnant women. Assessment of anaemia at the first antenatal visit is, therefore, essential.


anaemia; HIV; pregnancy


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