Viramune and Women in the News
There is another important reason to use Viramune. Given in single doses, it can prevent mother-to-child (also called vertical or perinatal) HIV transmission. This is a huge problem in parts of the world where combination therapy is not possible. Of course, in an ideal world, all HIV-positive mothers would have access to combination therapies, for both their health and their children's, but reality is much different. In many places, the need for a simple and inexpensive means to prevent children from being infected is paramount. Such a therapy can easily mean the difference between HIV infection and noninfection for thousands of children. Viramune has been tested in multiple clinical trials and found to be an effective means to prevent children from being born HIV-positive. One such study called HIVNET 012 has been criticized for ethical and regulatory problems. While this is disturbing, these charges don't change the basic fact that Viramune works well in preventing mother-to-child transmission. Recently, the Associated Press published three articles dealing with Viramune. The first two concerned HIVNET 012 and the allegations of the ethical and regulatory problems. The third story was about a pregnant woman who died while she was taking Viramune in combination therapy, not a single dose. The studies conducted using single-dose Viramune, such as HIVNET 012, don't show the liver toxicity problems associated with long-term use. As a matter of fact, the women and babies who took Viramune in HIVNET 012 suffered fewer serious side effects than ones that took AZT. But the timing of the articles (published on three consecutive days) may have served to further confuse the issue in some people's minds.
The bottom line: If you are a woman considering using Viramune, make sure you talk with your healthcare provider. If you start, make sure to have your blood work done on time. Don't skip follow-up appointments and tell your healthcare provider if you have any symptoms.
This article was provided by AIDS Survival Project. It is a part of the publication Survival News.