Prevalence of human immunodeficiency virus, syphilis, and hepatitis B and C virus infections in pregnant women: A systematic review and meta-analysis


BACKGROUND: At the 74th World Health Assembly, the WHO issued a strategy for the prevention and control of several major infectious diseases. To achieve the WHO-initiated targets for these infectious diseases, the elimination of mother-to-child transmission is essential. To date, a systematic review of the global and regional prevalence of infections with relevant mother-to-child transmission and outside the spectrum of congenital infections is lacking. OBJECTIVES: We aimed to systematically review the prevalence of HIV, hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV), and syphilis in pregnant women. DATA SOURCES: MEDLINE, Embase, The Cochrane Library, Web of Science, China National Knowledge Infrastructure, WanFang database and China Biology Medicine disc database, and five WHO Regional Index Medicus databases. STUDY ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA: Original studies reporting the prevalence of infection or coinfection of HIV, HBV, HCV, and syphilis in pregnant women. METHODS: This systematic review followed the preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses 2020 checklist. We used random-effects models to generate pooled prevalence estimates for each infection. RESULTS: The global pooled prevalence in pregnant women of HIV, HBV, HCV, and syphilis was 2.9% (95% CI, 2.4–3.4%), 4.8% (3.8–5.8%), 1.0% (0.8–1.3%), and 0.8% (0.7–0.9%). The pooled prevalence of HIV, HBV, HCV, and syphilis in low-income countries was higher than the global level (HIV: 5.2% [1.6–10.5%); HBV: 6.6% (5.4–7.9%); HCV: 2.7% (1.6–4.1%); syphilis: 3.3% (2.2–4.6%]). The pooled prevalence of HIV, HBV, HCV, and syphilis in lower-middle-income countries was higher than the global level (HIV: 2.9% [0.8–6.1%]; HBV: 4.9% [3.8–6.1%]; HCV: 2.3% [1.2–3.6%]; syphilis: 1.5% [1.0–2.2%]). CONCLUSIONS: The prevalence of these infections among pregnant women was particularly high in resource-poor settings. The relevance and feasibility of current global practice guidelines for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of these infections in lower-middle-income countries must be evaluated, including timely access to screening and therapeutics.


Wu S, Wang J, Guo Q, Lan H, Sun Y, Ren M, Liu Y, Wang P, Wang L, Su R, Zhang J, Chen Y, Li G




  • Epidemiology and Determinants of Health
    • Epidemiology
  • Population(s)
    • Women
    • General HIV+ population
    • General HIV- population
  • Co-infections
    • Hepatitis B, C
    • Syphilis


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