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Singer, Katharina; Schulze-Sturm, Ulf; Alba-Alejandre, Irene; Hollwitz, Bettina; Thi Thanh Truc, Nguyen; Sollinger, Franz; Eberle, Josef; Hübner, Johannes; Kobbe, Robin; Genzel-Boroviczeny, Orsolya and Both, Ulrich von (2019): Impact of refugee influx on the epidemiology of late-presenting HIV-infected pregnant women and mother-to-child transmission: comparing a southern and northern medical centre in Germany. In: Infection, Vol. 47, No. 5: pp. 847-852

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Purpose Due to early antenatal screening and treatment, HIV mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) rarely occurs in Germany. The study aimed to investigate the impact on prevalence of HIV infection in the antenatal population and the incidence of late-presenting HIV-infected mothers attributable to increased numbers of refugees. Methods Retrospective analysis and comparison were performed for all deliveries in HIV-infected pregnant women presenting to medical care in Munich (southern Germany) and Hamburg (northern Germany) covering two time periods, A (2010-2012) and B (2013-2015). Results In Munich, deliveries in HIV-infected pregnant women increased 1.6-fold from period A (n = 50) to B (n = 79) with late-presenting cases rising significantly from 2% (1/50) in period A to 13% (10/79) in B. In contrast, late-presenting cases in Hamburg decreased from 14% (14/100) in period A to 7% (7/107) in B, while the total number of HIV-infected women giving birth remained stable. From 2010 to 2015, one late-presenting pregnant woman transmitted HIV in Munich by presumed in utero mode of infection (case reviewed here), while no MTCT occurred in Hamburg. Conclusions HIV infections diagnosed late in pregnancy and leading to delayed ART initiation are rising in Munich compared to Hamburg. Antenatal care of HIV-infected pregnant women in Munich appears to have been more affected by the recent refugee influx than Hamburg. Our study highlights the importance of screening all pregnant women for HIV early in pregnancy and providing timely health care access for pregnant refugees and asylum seekers to effectively prevent MTCT in Germany.

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