Intervention study to reduce Mother-to-child transmission of HIV

To examine whether the intervention strategy of vaginal cleansing with a diluted chlorhexidine solution during labour can reduce the risk of transmission of HIV infection from mother-to-child
To acquire a better understanding of the timing of perinatal transmission of HIV-1.
Prospective clinical trial
On alternating weeks, women were allocated to non-intervention or to intervention consisting of vaginal lavage with 120 ml 0.2% chlorhexidine, later increased to 0.4%, repeated every 3 h from admission to delivery. Infants were tested for HIV by DNA polymerase chain reaction within 48 h and at 6 and 14 weeks of life.
Enrolment and follow-up data were available for 297 and 309 HIV-positive women, respectively, in the non-lavage and the lavage groups.
Vaginal lavage with diluted chlorhexidine during delivery did not show a global effect on MTCT in our study. However, the data suggest that lavage before the membranes are ruptured might be associated with a reduction of MTCT, especially with higher concentrations of chlorhexidine:
There was no evidence of a difference in intrapartum MTCT (17.2 versus 15.9%, OR 0.9, 95% CI 0.6-1.4) between the groups.
Lavage solely before rupture of the membranes tended towards lower MTCT with chlorhexidine 0.2% (OR 0.6, 95% CI 0.3-1.1), and even more with chlorhexidine 0.4% (OR 0.1, 95% CI 0.0-0.9).
The results were published in AIDS. 2001 Feb 16;15(3):389-96

Funding agencies

Ghent University


Philippe Gaillard, Fabian Mwanyumba, Patricia Claeys, Marleen Temmerman


Chris Verhofstede (AIDS Reference Laboratory, Ghent University); Varsha Chohan (Coast Provincial General Hospital, Mombasa, Kenya); Kishorchandra Mandaliya (Coast Provincial General Hospital, Mombasa, Kenya); Jeckoniah Ndinya-Achola (Dept of Medical Microbiology, University of Nairobi, Kenya)


March 04, 2001 - March 04, 2003

Project status

Project closed

Team members

Ms. Patricia Claeys
Ms. Marleen Temmerman