In the Sept. 13 issue of The Lancet, Johns Hopkins and Ugandan researchers report final results of a study showing that a safe, simple and inexpensive treatment reduces transmission of HIV from mothers to babies during childbirth and the first few weeks of life, offering a good chance to curb the spread of HIV.
In their study of more than 600 women in Uganda, giving one dose of nevirapine, a common HIV-fighting drug, to HIV-positive mothers during labor, and one dose to their newborns, reduced transmission by 41 percent, compared to a multi-dose regimen of the drug zidovudine, commonly called AZT. Africa is home to roughly 30 million HIV-positive people, about 3 million of whom are pregnant women. The report documents all the babies health at 6 to 8 weeks and at 18 months.
"This use of nevirapine, if widely implemented, has the potential to prevent several hundred thousand new infections every year," says J. Brooks Jackson, M.D., director of pathology at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. "This regimen is extremely simple, safe and inexpensive, but access to HIV testing and counseling remains a huge obstacle. Fortunately, the recent availability of funds for HIV prevention and treatment for Africa from the Bush AIDS relief plan will likely make a huge difference in the implementation of this nevirapine regimen."
Joanna Downer | EurekAlert!
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