Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV in Thailand: Physicians' Attitudes on Zidovudine Use, Pregnancy Termination, and Willingness to Provide Care.

Stringer, Jeffrey S. A.; Stringer, Elizabeth McPhillips; Phanuphak, Praphan; Jetwana, Paradorn; Reinprayoon, Damrong; Funkhouser, Ellen M.; Vermund, Sten H.
JAIDS Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes: July 1, 1999

Summary: We administered a survey to Thai physicians, using regular mail, on their attitudes and practices regarding zidovudine (ZDV) use and pregnancy termination in HIV-infected pregnant women. We surveyed their willingness to care for these patients as well. In 1997, 79.5% of 480 respondents reported that they did not routinely use perinatal ZDV prophylaxis. Predictors of failure to use ZDV found to be significant in our logistic regression model included practice outside of Bangkok (odds ratio [OR] = 2.0), belief that ZDV is not cost effective (OR = 2.5), unfamiliarity with AIDS Clinical Trials Group (ACTG) 076 results (OR = 2.5), and failure to screen for HIV routinely (OR = 4.9). Elective abortion for HIV-infected women was advocated by 45.3% of respondents. Factors associated in multivariable analysis with this preference included specialty training in obstetrics/gynecology (OR = 1.8), practice inside Bangkok (OR = 2.0), male gender (OR = 1.9), and treatment of <=2 HIV-infected patients yearly (OR = 1.8). A significant proportion of respondents described themselves as unwilling to perform pelvic examinations (19.2%), vaginal deliveries (30.7%), or cesarean deliveries (39.5%) on women who were known to be infected with HIV. We conclude that many Thai obstetric providers are reluctant to care for HIV-infected women, do not routinely use perinatal ZDV prophylaxis, and prefer to terminate pregnancies among HIV-infected patients. Physician education concerning the value of HIV screening and antiretroviral therapy in HIV-infected pregnant women is needed urgently in Thailand.

(C) 1999 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.