Paternal Involvement and Fetal Morbidity Outcomes in HIV/AIDS: A Population-Based Study.

American journal of men's health

PubMedID: 23913897

Alio AP, Mbah AK, Shah K, August EM, Dejoy S, Adegoke K, Marty PJ, Salihu HM, Aliyu MH. Paternal Involvement and Fetal Morbidity Outcomes in HIV/AIDS: A Population-Based Study. Am J Mens Health. 2013;.
Prior research indicates that infants with absent fathers are vulnerable to unfavorable fetal birth outcomes. HIV is a recognized risk factor for adverse birth outcomes. However, the influence of paternal involvement on fetal morbidity outcomes in women with HIV remains poorly understood. Using linked hospital discharge data and vital statistics records for the state of Florida (1998-2007), the authors assessed the association between paternal involvement and fetal growth outcomes (i.e., low birth weight [LBW], very low birth weight [VLBW], preterm birth [PTB], very preterm birth [VPTB], and small for gestational age [SGA]) among HIV-positive mothers (N = 4,719). Propensity score matching was used to match cases (absent fathers) to controls (fathers involved). Conditional logistic regression was employed to generate adjusted odds ratios (OR). Mothers of infants with absent fathers were more likely to be Black, younger (<35 years old), and unmarried with at least a high school education (p < .01). They were also more likely to have a history of drug (p < .01) and alcohol (p = .02) abuse. These differences disappeared after propensity score matching. Infants of HIV-positive mothers with absent paternal involvement during pregnancy had elevated risks for adverse fetal outcomes (LBW: OR = 1.30, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.05-1.60; VLBW: OR = 1.72, 95% CI = 1.05-2.82; PTB: OR = 1.38, 95% CI = 1.13-1.69; VPTB: OR = 1.81, 95% CI = 1.13-2.90). Absence of fathers increases the likelihood of adverse fetal morbidity outcomes in women with HIV infection. These findings underscore the importance of paternal involvement during pregnancy, especially as an important component of programs for prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV.