HIV infection among women undergoing abortion in Montreal.CMAJ. 1995 Nov 01; 153(9):1271-9.CMAJ
To determine the seroprevalence and correlates of HIV infection in a subpopulation of women of childbearing age in Montreal.
Anonymous unlinked seroprevalence study.
Pregnancy termination unit in a teaching hospital in Montreal.
Women presenting for abortion from July 1989 to June 1993 who resided in Quebec and were not known to have HIV infection; 12,017 (99.6%) of 12,068 eligible women were included in the study.
HIV antibody testing of serum left over from samples obtained for routine Rh typing; the same algorithm as for serodiagnostic testing, namely enzyme immunoassay (EIA) followed by confirmatory testing of repeatedly EIA-reactive samples, was used.
HIV serostatus by age, marital status, region of residence (metropolitan Montreal versus other), country of birth and number of living children.
Most (84.7%) of the subjects resided in metropolitan Montreal. The median age was 27.0 (range 13 to 50) years. The serum samples of 22 women were confirmed to be HIV positive, for an overall seroprevalence rate of 1.8 per 1000 (95% confidence interval 1.1 to 2.8). The seroprevalence rate did not vary significantly by age, marital status, region of residence or study year. However, it was strongly correlated with country of birth: Canada 0.16, Haiti 23.5, HIV-endemic countries other than Haiti 5.3 and non-HIV-endemic countries other than Canada 0.0 per 1000. The seroprevalence rate among women born in Haiti was 147 times higher than that among women born in Canada (p < 0.0001). Of the women born in Haiti the rate was 3.0 times greater among those who immigrated to Canada in 1985 or later than among those who immigrated earlier (p = 0.047).
The results of this study indicate that the HIV seroprevalence rate among women in Montreal is strongly associated with country of birth, women born in HIV-endemic countries, especially Haiti, having the highest rate. These results will help in the development of policies regarding HIV antibody testing and prevention of HIV transmission in Quebec.