Bmc Public Health 2022; 22(1): 1312 -

Optimizing the World Health Organization algorithm for HIV vertical transmission risk assessment by adding maternal self-reported antiretroviral therapy adherence.

Fernández-Luis S, Lain MG, Serna-Pascual M, Domínguez-Rodríguez S, Kuhn L, Liberty A, Barnabas S, López-Varela E, Otwombe K, Danaviah S, Nastouli E, Palma P, Cotugno N, Spyer M, Giannuzzi V, Giaquinto C, Violari A, Cotton MF, Nhampossa T, Klein N, Ramsagar N, van Rensburg AJ, Behuhuma O, Vaz P, Maiga AI, Oletto A, Naniche D, Rossi P, Rojo P, Tagarro A, EPIICAL Consortium.
The World Health Organization (WHO) risk assessment algorithm for vertical transmission of HIV (VT) assumes the availability of maternal viral load (VL) result at delivery and early viral control 4 weeks after initiating antiretroviral treatment (ART). However, in many low-and-middle-income countries, VL is often unavailable and mothers' ART adherence may be suboptimal. We evaluate the inclusion of the mothers' self-reported adherence into the established WHO-algorithm to identify infants eligible for enhanced post-natal prophylaxis when mothers' VL result is not available at delivery.We used data from infants with perinatal HIV infection and their mothers enrolled from May-2018 to May-2020 in Mozambique, South Africa, and Mali. We retrospectively compared the performance of the WHO-algorithm with a modified algorithm which included mothers' adherence as an additional factor. Infants were considered at high risk if born from mothers without a VL result in the 4 weeks before delivery and with adherence <90%.At delivery, 143/184(78%) women with HIV knew their status and were on ART. Only 17(12%) obtained a VL result within 4 weeks before delivery, and 13/17(76%) of them had VL ≥1000 copies/ml. From 126 women on ART without a recent VL result, 99(79%) had been on ART for over 4 weeks. 45/99(45%) women reported suboptimal (< 90%) adherence. A total of 81/184(44%) infants were classified as high risk of VT as per the WHO-algorithm. The modified algorithm including self-adherence disclosure identified 126/184(68%) high risk infants.In the absence of a VL result, mothers' self-reported adherence at delivery increases the number of identified infants eligible to receive enhanced post-natal prophylaxis.© 2022. The Author(s).