July 10, 2008
Study Shows that Longer Treatment Course Could Halve Mother-to-Child HIV Transmission
According to a new study, giving extended antiretroviral regimens to infants of HIV-positive mothers significantly reduces the chance of transmitting the virus through breast feeding, The Baltimore Sun reports (baltimoresun.com, 7/10).
Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health separated 3,016 breast-feeding infants in Malawi into three groups: One group of babies got a single dose of nevirapine; in another, they received the drug for 14 weeks; the third group received a combination of nevirapine and zidovudine, another HIV medication, for 14 weeks. In the latter two groups HIV infections were reduced by half, with the infants showing no harmful side effects from the longer treatments.
“The study has a big sample size, so the data is really strong,” pediatrician and study coauthor Mary Glenn Fowler told the Sun. According to the article, health officials in Malawi and elsewhere are planning on rolling out the treatment in the near future.
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