This study estimates the rate of zidovudine (ZDV) use during pregnancy among HIV-infected women receiving Medicaid. The rates of ZDV use during pregnancy are compared before (preperiod) and after (postperiod) the 1994 publication of US Public Service Task Force guidelines, recommending use of ZDV during pregnancy. The authors also compare and contrast the correlates of ZDV use during pregnancy in each of the preguideline and postguideline periods. Methods: New Jersey AIDS/HIV surveillance data and paid Medicaid claims data between 1992 and 1996 were merged to examine ZDV use during pregnancy. Among ZDV users, the authors also examined persistence of ZDV use during the 3 months preceding delivery. In these analyses, the authors examined care received during pregnancy and differentiated routine medical care from pregnancy- specific care. Correlates of intrapregnancy ZDV use were examined using X2 analysis and robust regression techniques that correct for correlation among repeated observations. Results: Use of ZDV during pregnancy steadily increased from 13% in 1992 to 70% in 1996, with the upward trend beginning before the release of the guidelines. Averaged over the full preperiod (1992-1994), the rate was 29%, increasing to 57% during the full postperiod (1995-1996). Women with no health care during pregnancy did not receive any ZDV prophylaxis. Women who had some health care contacts, but did not receive pregnancy-specific care, had low rates of ZDV use that did not increase after the promulgation of the guidelines (21% in preperiod and 27% in postperiod). Women who received pregnancy-specific care, whether from obstetrician-gynecologists (OB-GYNs) or other providers, substantially increased their use of ZDV in the postguideline period (from 37% to 63% for those who saw OB-GYNS, and from 20% to 59% for those who received pregnancy-specific care from other providers). However, among users of ZDV, only a minority (24%) used ZDV persistently during the 3 months preceding delivery. African American women were less likely to be persistent ZDV users, even after controlling for other factors. Conclusions: The study highlights the underutilization of ZDV by women who did not receive pregnancy-related care, even after the publication of guidelines. Lack of pregnancy-specific medical care during pregnancy is an important barrier to ZDV prophylaxis. This study confirms that the receipt of prenatal care during pregnancy is a key intervening variable in the real world application of the PHS guidelines and underscores the importance of proactive efforts to provide prenatal care to pregnant women with HIV.
- Prenatal care