Maternal HIV status and birth weight in Zambia: is there an association?.
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ackground: The prevalence of low birth weight (LBW) in any population reflects its socio-economic development and it is a good proxy to gauge the developmental status of the country. This study aimed at examining the association between Maternal Human Immunodeficiency virus (HIV) status and Birth Weight in Zambia. The study was undertaken to inform health policies which are directed towards the global nutrition target of achieving a 30 per cent reduction in the number of LBW by the year 2025. Methods: Data from the 2018 Zambia Demographic Health Survey (ZDHS) was utilized, and Stata version 14 was used for analysis. The analysis was done at two levels: descriptive and inferential. In descriptive analysis, univariate analysis of selected background characteristics of women and children was conducted. Under inferential analysis, bivariate and multivariate logistic regression analysis was conducted to ascertain the association between the outcome variable and selected background characteristics. Findings: The study findings indicate that 12.9 per cent of women who reported the birth weight of their infants were HIV positive and that 7.7 per cent of infants were born with LBW. The results in a multivariate analysis reveal that the likelihood of giving birth to LBW infants among HIV positive women was significantly high when compared to HIV negative women. This is because HIV positive women are immunocompromised and prone to different diseases as well as undernutrition. Furthermore, the findings have shown that women who were married, those who had attended secondary or higher education, and those that attended antenatal care (ANC) 4 or more times had significantly reduced odds of delivering LBW infants. However, female infants were significantly more likely to be born with LBW compared to male infants. In addition, a sub population analysis of HIV positive women indicates that the risk of bearing LBW infants was significantly high among women who lived in rural areas, those that belonged to the middle wealth index and those that were from regions with a high prevalence of HIV infection like Lusaka and the Copper belt. Conclusion: It can, therefore, be concluded that maternal HIV status is significantly associated with LBW and there is need to raise awareness on the effects of the HIV infection on birth weight, so that any untoward consequences of the infection can be averted
The University of Zambia