Systematic review and meta-analysis of seroprevalence of human immunodeficiency virus serological markers among pregnant women in Africa, 1984–2020


BACKGROUND: Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a major public health concern, particularly in Africa where HIV rates remain substantial. Pregnant women are at an increased risk of acquiring HIV, which has a significant impact on both maternal and child health. AIM: To review summarizes HIV seroprevalence among pregnant women in Africa. It also identifies regional and clinical characteristics that contribute to study-specific estimates variation. METHODS: The study included pregnant women from any African country or region, irrespective of their symptoms, and any study design conducted in any setting. Using electronic literature searches, articles published until February 2023 were reviewed. The quality of the included studies was evaluated. The DerSimonian and Laird random-effects model was applied to determine HIV pooled seroprevalence among pregnant women in Africa. Subgroup and sensitivity analyses were conducted to identify potential sources of heterogeneity. Heterogeneity was assessed with Cochran’s Q test and I(2) statistics, and publication bias was assessed with Egger’s test. RESULTS: A total of 248 studies conducted between 1984 and 2020 were included in the quantitative synthesis (meta-analysis). Out of the total studies, 146 (58.9%) had a low risk of bias and 102 (41.1%) had a moderate risk of bias. No HIV-positive pregnant women died in the included studies. The overall HIV seroprevalence in pregnant women was estimated to be 9.3% [95% confidence interval (CI): 8.3–10.3]. The subgroup analysis showed statistically significant heterogeneity across subgroups (P < 0.001), with the highest seroprevalence observed in Southern Africa (29.4%, 95%CI: 26.5–32.4) and the lowest seroprevalence observed in Northern Africa (0.7%, 95%CI: 0.3–1.3). CONCLUSION: The review found that HIV seroprevalence among pregnant women in African countries remains significant, particularly in Southern African countries. This review can inform the development of targeted public health interventions to address high HIV seroprevalence in pregnant women in African countries.


Ebogo-Belobo JT, Kenmoe S, Mikangue CAM, Tchatchouang S, Robertine LF, Takuissu GR, Ondigui JLN, Bowo-Ngandji A, Kenfack-Momo R, Kengne-Ndé C, Mbaga DS, Menkem, Kame-Ngasse GI, Magoudjou-Pekam JN, Kenfack-Zanguim J, Esemu SN, Tagnouokam-Ngoupo PA, Ndip L, Njouom R




  • Epidemiology and Determinants of Health
    • Epidemiology
  • Population(s)
    • Women
    • General HIV+ population


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