ICRH Kenya

Genital shedding and Mother To Child Transmission of HIV


General objective:

  • To obtain a better understanding of the relation between the presence of the virus in the cervix and the vagina, and the risk of mother-child transmission of HIV.

Specific objectives:

  • To evaluate the correlation between viral detection of HIV1 in the birth canal at the time of delivery and HIV1- transmission
  • To assess the correlation between the presence of HIV1 in the oral secretions of the infant at birth and HIV1-transmission.


  • The study was conducted as part of an intervention study to determine the effect of vaginal lavage with chlorhexidine on perinatal transmission of HIV-1 (see: project prevention of vertical transmission of HIV-1)


  • The main conclusion of the study was that infant exposure to HIV-1 in the birth canal and the presence of HIV infected cells in the infant oro-pharyngeal cavity are independently associated with intra-partum vertical transmission. These findings support the hypothesis of intrapartum vertical transmission through the oral route.
  • Scientific papers as a result of this study: J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2002 Mar 1;29(3):262-9; J of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. 2001 21(1): 27-31;  Virol. 2003 Mar;77(5):3050-7