Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Major Professor

Heather G. Stockwell


Congenital Syphilis, HIV, Mother-to-Child transmission, Panama, PMTCT, Vertical Transmission



Background: Worldwide HIV is going through a feminization and rejuvenation as more women are living with HIV/AIDS, increasing the risk of vertical transmission. Despite the efforts in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) by 2010, Panama was the third most affected country in the region with HIV/AIDS, with females aged 15-24 twice as affected as men.

Methods: This descriptive epidemiological study of HIV vertical transmission in Panama reviewed clinical charts to identify health care personnel's practices during pregnancies in 2008. This study also examines the impact of interventions comparing the HIV outcome of the children at the end of the 18-month follow-up period (March 2011).

Results: This study found 290 clinical charts; 116 from women and girls living with HIV who were pregnant in 2008 and 174 clinical charts of prenatally exposed children to HIV in 2008. During pregnancy, 58.05% of the mothers received HAART, and 68.39% received intravenous zidovudine during labor. The 81.03% of the children received oral zidovudine six weeks after birth, and 54.02% were fed with infant-adapted formula. During the follow-up period 12.64% of children studied were diagnosed as HIV positive and 36.36% of those children had an older seropositive sibling.

Discussion: The Republic of Panama has made efforts to prevent vertical HIV transmission. The current study shows early interventions such as receiving HAART during pregnancy, intravenous zidovudine during labor, caesarean section birth, receiving oral zidovudine six weeks after birth, and feeding with infant-adapted formula that show statistical significance when compared to final diagnosis of the prenatally exposed children to HIV.