Digital Public Defence: Yohannes Ejigu Tsehay

MSc Yohannes Ejigu Tsehay at Institute of Health and Society will be defending the thesis Antiretroviral therapy in pregnancy: Role of ART in adverse pregnancy outcome, infant growth and maternal health for the degree of PhD (Philosophiae Doctor).

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Photo: Zelalem Simuye.

The public defence will be held as a video conference over Zoom.

The defence will follow regular procedure as far as possible, hence it will be open to the public and the audience can ask ex auditorio questions when invited to do so.

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Download Zoom here

Due to copyright reasons, an electronic copy of the thesis must be ordered from the faculty. In order for the faculty to have time to process the order, it must be received by the faculty no later than 2 days prior to the public defence. Orders received later than 2 days before the defence will not be processed. Inquiries regarding the thesis after the public defence must be addressed to the candidate.

Digital Trial Lecture – time and place

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Adjudication committee

  • First opponent: Researcher Annelie Tjernlund, Karolinska Universitetssjukhuset Solna, Sweden
  • Second opponent: Professor Ingvild Fossgard Sandøy, Senter for internasjonal helse, University of Bergen
  • Third member and chair of the evaluation committee: Associate Professor Magnus Løberg, University of Oslo

Chair of the Defence

Professor Anne Moen, University of Oslo

Principal Supervisor

 Maria C. Magnus, Norwegian Institute of Public Health


Antiretroviral therapy (ART) is effective in improving the prognosis of HIV-infection and preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV. Because of this, more HIV-infected women desire to become pregnant and have children. Although ART has indisputable therapeutic and preventive benefits, there are concerns about its role in increasing adverse pregnancy outcomes and growth failure in infants. But the existing evidence is limited and inconsistent.

This thesis aimed to investigate the differential roles of antiretroviral regimens in pregnancy outcome and maternal and offspring health. Specifically, we aimed to compare adverse pregnancy outcomes and infants growth according to type of antiretroviral regimens and timing of initiation. In addition, the maternal health benefit of early ART was investigated. Data was abstracted from clinical records of HIV-infected pregnant women and their infants from health facilities in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Our findings showed that combination ART initiated during pregnancy was associated with a higher risk of preterm birth and low birthweight as compared to zidovudine-monotherapy. We also observed a moderate risk of stunting among infants associated with ART exposure since conception as compared to ART exposure since late pregnancy. Early ART, as opposed to delaying treatment, for asymptomatic women with intact immunity, was found to be beneficial to preserve immunity.

In conclusion, our findings highlights the health benefits of early initiation of ART, even for asymptomatic HIV-infected women, but the findings also suggest the potential role of ART in increasing risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes and infant growth restriction. In light of these findings, early initiation of ART should be promoted, but HIV-infected pregnant women on ART and their infants should be closely monitored.

Additional information

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Published Mar. 10, 2021 10:00 AM - Last modified Mar. 29, 2021 12:40 PM