Background: Women who use antiretroviral therapy (ART) solely for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV discontinue postpartum. We hypothesized that women discontinuing ART by 6 weeks postpartum (“discontinuers”) would have elevated postpartum inflammatory biomarker levels relative to women remaining on ART postpartum (“continuers”).
Methods: Data from HIV-infected pregnant women enrolled in the International Maternal Pediatric Adolescent AIDS Clinical Trials Group P1025 with CD4 counts >350 cells per cubic millimeter before initiating ART or first pregnancy CD4 counts >400 cells per cubic millimeter after starting ART and with available stored plasma samples at >20 weeks of gestation, delivery, and 6 weeks postpartum were analyzed. Plasma samples were tested for highly sensitive C-reactive protein, D-dimer, and interleukin-6. We used longitudinal linear spline regression to model biomarkers over time.
Results: Data from 128 women (65 continuers and 63 discontinuers) were analyzed. All biomarkers increased from late pregnancy to delivery, then decreased postpartum (slopes different from 0, P < 0.001). Continuers had a steeper decrease in log D-dimer between delivery and 6 weeks postpartum than discontinuers (P = 0.002).
Conclusions: In contrast to results from treatment interruption studies in adults, both ART continuers and ART discontinuers had significant decreases in the levels of D-dimer, highly sensitive C-reactive protein, or interleukin-6 postpartum. Continuation was associated with a more rapid decline in D-dimer levels compared with discontinuation.