Prenatal and mental health care among trauma-exposed, HIV-infected, pregnant women in the United States

Olga M Villar-Loubet, Lourdes Illa, Marisa Echenique, Ryan Cook, Barbara Messick, Lunthita M Duthely, Shirley Gazabon, Myriam Glemaud, Victoria Bustamante-Avellaneda, JoNell Potter
Journal of the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care: JANAC 2014, 25 (1): S50-61
Comprehensive prenatal care for HIV-infected women in the United States involves addressing mental health needs. Retrospective quantitative data are presented from HIV-infected pregnant women (n = 45) who reported childhood sexual or physical abuse (66%), abuse in adulthood by a sexual partner (25%), and abuse during pregnancy (10%). Depression and anxiety were the most commonly reported psychological symptoms; more than half of the sample reported symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), including HIV-related PTSD (PTSD-HIV). There was a strong association between depression and PTSD as well as between anxiety and PTSD-HIV. The majority of infants received zidovudine at birth and continued the recommended regimen. All but one infant were determined to be noninfected. Women improved their CD4(+) T cell counts and HIV RNA viral loads while in prenatal care. Results support the need for targeted prenatal programs to address depression, anxiety, substance use, and trauma in HIV-infected women.

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