Study: AIDS Drugs After Birth Block Infection
October 10, 2003
Doctors at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore found that giving nevirapine and AZT to newborn babies of HIV-positive mothers reduces mother-to-child transmission of the disease by 36 percent.Adapted from:
Normally, pregnant HIV-positive women receive treatment during pregnancy, and their babies are given treatment after they are born. But in sub-Saharan Africa, many women arrive at clinics or hospitals just a few hours before giving birth and may not know their HIV status. "Those factors limit the use of nevirapine before delivery," noted Dr. Taha El Tahir Taha, the study's principal author. "Another approach to prevent transmission of the disease is clearly necessary."
Taha and colleagues compared the effects of nevirapine alone and nevirapine combined with AZT on 1,119 babies of HIV-positive mothers in Malawi. Seven percent of babies not infected at birth who were given combination therapy were HIV-positive when they were tested again at ages six-eight weeks, compared to 12.1 percent of babies given only nevirapine.
"In this study, we've shown that exposure after birth to prophylaxis with nevirapine and AZT can reduce mother-to-child transmission of HIV," Taha said. "With these new, promising results, we believe that alternative drugs may also be used as safety data become available."
Taha and co-authors reported their findings in "Short Postexposure Prophylaxis in Newborn Babies to Reduce Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV-1: NVAZ Randomized Clinical Trial," in the Lancet (2003;362(9391):1171-1177).
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.