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1.  Prevalence of depressive symptoms in pregnant and postnatal HIV-positive women in Ukraine: a cross-sectional survey 
Reproductive Health  2016;13:27.
Perinatal depression among HIV-positive women has negative implications for HIV-related and other maternal and infant outcomes. The aim of this study was to investigate the burden and correlates of perinatal depression among HIV-positive women in Ukraine, a lower middle income country with one of the largest HIV-positive populations in Europe.
Cross-sectional surveys nested within the Ukraine European Collaborative Study were conducted of HIV-positive women at delivery and between 1 and 12 months postpartum. Depressive symptoms in the previous month were assessed using a self-report screening tool. Other data collected included demographics, antiretroviral therapy (ART)-related self-efficacy, and perceptions of risks/benefits of interventions to prevent mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT). Characteristics of women with and without a positive depression screening test result were compared using Fisher’s exact test and χ2 test for categorical variables.
A quarter (27 % (49/180) antenatally and 25 % (57/228) postnatally) of participants screened positive for depressive symptoms. Antenatal risk factors were living alone (58 % (7/12) vs 25 % (42/167) p = 0.02), being somewhat/terribly bothered by ART side effects (40 % (17/43) vs 23 % (30/129) not /only slightly bothered, p = 0.05) and having lower ART-related self-efficacy (43 % (12/28) vs 23 % (25/110) with higher self-efficacy, p = 0.05). Postnatally, single mothers were more likely to screen positive (44 % (20/45) vs 21 % (18/84) of cohabiting and 19 % (19/99) of married women, p < 0.01) as were those unsure of the effectiveness of neonatal prophylaxis (40 % (20/45) vs 18 % (28/154) sure of effectiveness, p < 0.01), those worried that neonatal prophylaxis could harm the baby (30 % (44/146) vs 14 % (10/73) not worried p < 0.01) and those not confident to ask for help with taking ART (48 % (11/23) vs 27 % (10/37) fairly confident and 15 % (4/26) confident that they could do this). Of women who reported wanting help for their depressive symptoms, 82 % (37/45) postnatally but only 31 % (12/39) antenatally were already accessing peer counselling, treatment adherence programmes, support groups or social services.
A quarter of women screened positive for depression. Results highlight the need for proactive strategies to identify depressive symptoms, and an unmet need for provision of mental health support in the perinatal period for HIV-positive women in Ukraine.
PMCID: PMC4802605  PMID: 27000405
Depression; HIV infection; Eastern Europe; Pregnancy; Postpartum period; Antiretroviral therapy; Prevention of mother-to-child transmission; Ukraine
2.  Adherence to antiretroviral therapy during pregnancy and the first year postpartum among HIV-positive women in Ukraine 
BMC Public Health  2014;14:993.
Poor adherence to antiretroviral therapy (ART) is associated with HIV disease progression and, during pregnancy, increased mother-to-child transmission risk. In Ukraine, access to combination ART is expanding but data on adherence are scarce.
Cross-sectional surveys of HIV-positive women were conducted i) at delivery (on antenatal ART adherence) and ii) during the first year postpartum (on ART adherence in the preceding four weeks). Factors associated with a score ≤11 on the self-report Case Adherence Support Evaluation (CASE) index or ≥1 self-reported missed dose were assessed using Fisher’s exact test.
Of 185 antenatal participants and 102 postnatal participants, median ages were 27.5 and 29.5 years respectively: 28% (50/180) and 27% (26/98) reported an unplanned pregnancy, and 13% (24/179) and 17% (17/98) an illicit drug-use history (excluding marijuana). One quarter (49/180 antenatally, 27/101 postnatally) screened positive for depression. The proportion reporting ‘low’ ART-related self-efficacy (i.e. unable to do ≥1/5 ART-taking activities) was 20% (28/141) antenatally and 17% (11/66) postnatally. Antenatally, 14% (95% CI 10-21%) had a CASE score ≤11 and 35% (95% CI 28-42%) reported missing ≥1 dose. Factors associated with a CASE score ≤11 were unplanned pregnancy (25% (12/48) vs. 11% (13/120) where planned, p = 0.03) and living with extended family (23% (13/57) vs. 10% (12/125) living with partner/alone, p = 0.04). Self-report of ≥1 missed dose antenatally was additionally associated with younger age (p = 0.03) and lower self-efficacy (50% (14/28) reported ≥1 missed dose vs. 28% (30/108) of those with high self-efficacy, p = 0.04). Of 102 postnatal participants, 8% (95% CI 4-15%) had a CASE score ≤11 and 31% (95% CI 22-41%) reported ≥1 missed dose. Of 11 women with low self-efficacy, 3 (27%) had a CASE score ≤11 compared with 3/55 (5%) of those with high self-efficacy (p = 0.05). Current smokers more commonly reported ≥1 missed dose postnatally (50% (13/26) vs. 25% (18/72) of non-smokers, p = 0.03).
Our results highlight unmet needs for counselling and support. We identify some groups at risk of poor ART adherence, including women with markers of social vulnerability and those with low ART-related self-efficacy, who may benefit from targeted interventions.
PMCID: PMC4180980  PMID: 25248469
HIV; Antiretroviral therapy; Adherence; Self-efficacy; Ukraine; Eastern Europe; Women; Pregnancy; Prevention of mother-to-child transmission
4.  Factors associated with abandonment of infants born to HIV positive women: results from a Ukrainian birth cohort 
AIDS care  2010;22(12):1439-1448.
Social marginalisation and other challenges facing HIV-positive pregnant women in Ukraine may put them at increased risk of relinquishing their infants to the state. We described rates of infant abandonment (exclusive non-parental care to most recent follow up, censored at two years of age) and investigated associated factors using logistic regression models, in 4759 mother-infant pairs enrolled across six Ukrainian sites in the European Collaborative Study from 2000 to May 2009. Median maternal age was 26.0 years, 81.8% were married or cohabiting and 60.6% were nulliparous at enrolment. An injecting drug use (IDU) history was reported by 18.4%, 80.2% took antiretroviral therapy (ART) antenatally and most deliveries were vaginal. A small but significant proportion of infants had been cared for exclusively in institutions by their second birthday (2.1% overall), decreasing from 3.8% (15/393) in 2000-02 to 1.6% (49/3136) in 2006-09 (p<0.01), concurrent with prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) scale-up. A further 1% of infants spent some time in non-parental care. Antenatal ART was associated with an 88% reduced abandonment risk (AOR 0.12), versus receipt of single dose nevirapine only, and this was reflected in HIV infection prevalence in the two groups (17.1% of abandoned infants versus 6.6% in parental care). Mothers without a cohabiting partner or husband were more likely to abandon (AOR 4.08), as were active IDUs (AOR 3.27) and those with ≥1 previous children (AOR 1.89 for second-born, AOR 2.56 for subsequent births). Women delivering by elective caesarean section were less likely to abandon (AOR 0.37 versus vaginal), as were those leaving full time education later (AOR 0.61 for 17-18 years versus ≤16 years, AOR 0.23 for ≥19 years versus ≤16 years). Interventions to extend family planning and IDU harm reduction services along with non-stigmatising antenatal care to marginalised women are needed, and may reduce abandonment.
PMCID: PMC3428901  PMID: 20824547
HIV; infant abandonment; antenatal antiretroviral therapy; injecting drug use; Ukraine
5.  Cervical Screening within HIV Care: Findings from an HIV-Positive Cohort in Ukraine 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(4):e34706.
HIV-positive women have an increased risk of invasive cervical cancer but cytologic screening is effective in reducing incidence. Little is known about cervical screening coverage or the prevalence of abnormal cytology among HIV-positive women in Ukraine, which has the most severe HIV epidemic in Europe.
Poisson regression models were fitted to data from 1120 women enrolled at three sites of the Ukraine Cohort Study of HIV-infected Childbearing Women to investigate factors associated with receiving cervical screening as part of HIV care. All women had been diagnosed as HIV-positive before or during their most recent pregnancy. Prevalence of cervical abnormalities (high/low grade squamous intraepithelial lesions) among women who had been screened was estimated, and associated factors explored.
Overall, 30% (337/1120) of women had received a cervical screening test as part of HIV care at study enrolment (median 10 months postpartum), a third (115/334) of whom had been tested >12 months previously. In adjusted analyses, women diagnosed as HIV-positive during (vs before) their most recent pregnancy were significantly less likely to have a screening test reported, on adjusting for other potential risk factors (adjusted prevalence ratio (APR) 0.62, 95% CI 0.51–0.75 p<0.01 for 1st/2nd trimester diagnosis and APR 0.42, 95% CI 0.28–0.63 p<0.01 for 3rd trimester/intrapartum diagnosis). Among those with a cervical screening result reported at any time (including follow-up), 21% (68/325) had a finding of cervical abnormality. In adjusted analyses, Herpes simplex virus 2 seropositivity and a recent diagnosis of bacterial vaginosis were associated with an increased risk of abnormal cervical cytology (APR 1.83 95% CI 1.07–3.11 and APR 3.49 95% CI 2.11–5.76 respectively).
In this high risk population, cervical screening coverage as part of HIV care was low and could be improved by an organised cervical screening programme for HIV-positive women. Bacterial vaginosis testing and treatment may reduce vulnerability to cervical abnormalities.
PMCID: PMC3335834  PMID: 22545087
6.  Treatment and disease progression in a birth cohort of vertically HIV-1 infected children in Ukraine 
BMC Pediatrics  2010;10:85.
Ukraine has the highest HIV prevalence (1.6%) and is facing the fastest growing epidemic in Europe. Our objective was to describe the clinical, immunological and virological characteristics, treatment and response in vertically HIV-infected children living in Ukraine and followed from birth.
The European Collaborative Study (ECS) is an ongoing cohort study, in which HIV-1 infected pregnant women are enrolled and followed in pregnancy, and their children prospectively followed from birth. ECS enrolment in Ukraine started in 2000 initially with three sites, increasing to seven sites by 2009.
A total of 245 infected children were included in the cohort by April 2009, with a median age of 23 months at most recent follow-up; 33% (n = 77) had injecting drug using mothers and 85% (n = 209) were infected despite some use of antiretroviral prophylaxis for prevention of mother-to-child transmission. Fifty-five (22%) children had developed AIDS, at a median age of 10 months (IQR = 6-19). The most prevalent AIDS indicator disease was Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia (PCP). Twenty-seven (11%) children had died (median age, 6.2 months). Overall, 108 (44%) children had started highly active antiretroviral treatment (HAART), at a median 18 months of age; median HAART duration was 6.6 months to date. No child discontinued HAART and 92% (100/108) remained on their first-line HAART regimen to date. Among children with moderate/severe immunosuppression, 36% had not yet started HAART. Among children on HAART, 71% (69/97) had no evidence of immunosuppression at their most recent visit; the median reduction in HIV RNA was 4.69 log10 copies/mL over a median of 10 months treatment. From survival analysis, an estimated 94%, 84% and 81% of children will be alive and AIDS-free at 6, 12 and 18 months of age, respectively. However, survival increased significantly over time: estimated survival rates to 12 months of age were 87% for children born in 2000/03 versus 96% for those born in 2004/08.
One in five children had AIDS and one in ten had died. The half of children who received HAART has responded well and survival has significantly improved over time. Earlier diagnosis and prompt initiation of HAART remain key challenges.
PMCID: PMC2997768  PMID: 21092301
7.  Progress in prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV infection in Ukraine: results from a birth cohort study 
Ukraine was the epicentre of the HIV epidemic in Eastern Europe, which has the most rapidly accelerating HIV epidemic world-wide today; national HIV prevalence is currently estimated at 1.6%. Our objective was to evaluate the uptake and effectiveness of interventions for prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) over an eight year period within operational settings in Ukraine, within the context of an ongoing birth cohort study.
The European Collaborative Study (ECS) is an ongoing birth cohort study in which HIV-infected pregnant women identified before or during pregnancy or at delivery were enrolled and their infants prospectively followed. Three centres in Ukraine started enrolling in 2000, with a further three joining in September 2006.
Of the 3356 women enrolled, 21% (689) reported current or past injecting drug use (IDU). Most women were diagnosed antenatally and of those, the proportion diagnosed in the first/second trimester increased from 47% in 2000/01 (83/178) to 73% (776/1060) in 2006/07 (p < 0.001); intrapartum diagnosis was associated with IDU (Adjusted odds ratio 4.38; 95%CI 3.19–6.02). The percentage of women not receiving any antiretroviral prophylaxis declined from 18% (36/205) in 2001 to 7% in 2007 (61/843) (p < 0.001). Use of sdNVP alone substantially declined after 2003, with a concomitant increase in zidovudine prophylaxis. Median antenatal zidovudine prophylaxis duration increased from 24 to 72 days between 2000 and 2007. Elective caesarean section (CS) rates were relatively stable over time and 34% overall. Mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) rates decreased from 15.2% in 2001 (95%CI 10.2–21.4) to 7.0% in 2006 (95%CI 2.6–14.6). In adjusted analysis, MTCT risk was reduced by 43% with elective CS versus vaginal delivery and by 75% with zidovudine versus no prophylaxis.
There have been substantial improvements in use of PMTCT interventions in Ukraine, including earlier diagnosis of HIV-infected pregnant women and increasing coverage with antiretroviral prophylaxis and the initial MTCT rate has more than halved. Future research should focus on hard-to-reach populations such as IDU and on missed opportunities for further reducing the MTCT rate.
PMCID: PMC2674441  PMID: 19351387
8.  Prevention of mother-to-child transmission of human immunodeficiency virus among pregnant women using injecting drugs in Ukraine, 2000–10 
Addiction (Abingdon, England)  2012;107(1):118-128.
To compare clinical status, mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) rates, use of prevention of (PMTCT) interventions and pregnancy outcomes between HIV-infected injecting drug users (IDUs) and non-IDUs.
Design and setting
Prospective cohort study conducted in seven human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immune deficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) Centres in Ukraine, 2000–10.
Pregnant HIV-infected women, identified before/during pregnancy or intrapartum, and their live-born infants (n = 6200); 1028 women followed post-partum.
Maternal and delivery characteristics, PMTCT prophylaxis, MTCT rates, preterm delivery (PTD) and low birth weight (LBW).
Of 6200 women, 1111 (18%) reported current/previous IDU. The proportion of IDUs diagnosed with HIV before conception increased from 31% in 2000/01 to 60% in 2008/09 (P < 0.01). Among women with undiagnosed HIV at conception, 20% of IDUs were diagnosed intrapartum versus 4% of non-IDUs (P < 0.01). At enrolment, 14% of IDUs had severe/advanced HIV symptoms versus 6% of non-IDUs (P < 0.001). IDUs had higher rates of PTD and LBW infants than non-IDUs, respectively, 16% versus 7% and 22% versus 10% (P < 0.001). IDUs were more likely to receive no neonatal or intrapartum PMTCT prophylaxis compared with non-IDUs (OR 2.81, p < 0.001). MTCT rates were 10.8% in IDUs versus 5.9% in non-IDUs; IDUs had increased MTCT risk (adjusted odds ratio 1.32, P = 0.049). Fewer IDUs with treatment indications received HAART compared with non-IDUs (58% versus 68%, P = 0.03).
Pregnant human immunodeficiency virus-infected injecting drug users in Ukraine have worse clinical status, poorer access to prevention of mother-to-child transmission prophylaxis and highly active antiretroviral therapy, more adverse pregnancy outcomes and higher risk of mother-to-child transmission than non-injecting drug user women.
PMCID: PMC3272221  PMID: 21819473
HIV; injecting drugs; mother-to-child; pregnancy; pregnancy outcomes; prevention; transmission

Results 1-8 (8)