Slower response to treatment of iron-deficiency anaemia in pregnant women infected with HIV: a prospective cohort study

for the REDS-III South Africa Program

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Antenatal anaemia is associated with increased peripartum transfusion requirement in South Africa. We studied whether HIV was associated with the response to treatment of iron-deficiency anaemia. Design: Prospective cohort study. Setting: Hospital-based antenatal anaemia clinic in South Africa. Sample: Equal-sized cohorts of pregnant women testing positive for HIV (HIV+) and testing negative for HIV (HIV−) with iron-deficiency anaemia. Methods: Haemoglobin trajectories of women with confirmed iron-deficiency anaemia (ferritin < 50 ng/ml) were estimated from the initiation of iron supplementation using mixed-effects modelling, adjusted for baseline HIV status, ferritin level, maternal and gestational ages and time-varying iron supplementation. Main outcome measures: Haemoglobin trajectories. Results: Of 469 women enrolled, 51% were HIV+, 90% of whom were on antiretroviral therapy (with a mean CD4+ lymphocyte count of 403 cells/mm3). Anaemia diagnoses did not differ by HIV status. A total of 400 women with iron-deficiency anaemia were followed during treatment with oral or intravenous (6%) iron therapy. In multivariable analysis, haemoglobin recovery was 0.10 g/dl per week slower on average in women who were HIV+ versus women who were HIV− (P = 0.001), 0.01 g/dl per week slower in women with higher baseline ferritin (P < 0.001) and 0.06 g/dl per week faster in women who were compliant with oral iron therapy (P = 0.002). Conclusions: Compared with women who were HIV−, women who were HIV+ with iron-deficiency anaemia had slower but successful haemoglobin recovery with iron therapy. Earlier effective management of iron deficiency could reduce the incidence of peripartum blood transfusion. Tweetable abstract: Among pregnant women with iron-deficiency anaemia in South Africa, HIV slows haemoglobin recovery in response to oral iron therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1674-1681
Number of pages8
JournalBJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Sep 2021


  • HIV
  • Iron-deficiency anaemia
  • pregnancy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


Dive into the research topics of 'Slower response to treatment of iron-deficiency anaemia in pregnant women infected with HIV: a prospective cohort study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this