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Medical News

AIDS Virus Hides Quickly Inside Babies' Blood

May 9, 2007

Drug-resistant HIV strains that pass from mother to infant can go undetected in the baby's immune system cells and remain there for years, according to a study by Dr. Deborah Persaud of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and colleagues.

Mother-to-child HIV transmission in the United States has been slowed by the practice of treating both mother and baby at delivery, though it remains a major cause of infection in the developing world. Without treatment, around 25 percent of newborns become infected, either during birth or later during breastfeeding.

In addition, drug-resistant HIV is on the rise globally. HIV patients may develop resistance to their HIV drugs, and this resistant strain can then pass from person-to-person.

Persaud and colleagues studied 21 HIV-infected infants in 10 U.S. states. Five of the infants had been infected with drug-resistant HIV from their mothers.

The researchers found the infants' virus moved quickly to inactive or resting CD4 T-cells. While the virus was resistant to the non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors class of drugs, another class, protease inhibitors, worked.

"The initial transmitted drug-resistant virus will likely never be cleared from that infant with currently available treatments," said Persaud.

The study, "Early Archiving and Predominance of Nonnucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitor-Resistant HIV-1 Among Recently Infected Infants Born in the United States," was published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases (2007;195:1402-1410).

Back to other news for May 2007

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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.
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