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1.  Detection of HIV-1 Drug Resistance in Women Following Administration of a Single Dose of Nevirapine: Comparison of Plasma RNA to Cellular DNA by Consensus Sequencing and by Oligonucleotide Ligation Assay▿  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2010;48(5):1555-1561.
A single dose of nevirapine (sdNVP) to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV-1 increases the risk of failure of subsequent NVP-containing antiretroviral therapy (ART), especially when initiated within 6 months of sdNVP administration, emphasizing the importance of understanding the decay of nevirapine-resistant mutants. Nevirapine-resistant HIV-1 genotypes (with the mutations K103N, Y181C, and/or G190A) from 21 women were evaluated 10 days and 6 weeks after sdNVP administration and at the initiation of ART. Resistance was assayed by consensus sequencing and by a more sensitive assay (oligonucleotide ligation assay [OLA]) using plasma-derived HIV-1 RNA and cell-associated HIV-1 DNA. OLA detected nevirapine resistance in more specimens than consensus sequencing did (63% versus 33%, P < 0.01). When resistance was detected only by OLA (n = 45), the median mutant concentration was 18%, compared to 61% when detected by both sequencing and OLA (n = 51) (P < 0.0001). The proportion of women whose nevirapine resistance was detected by OLA 10 days after sdNVP administration was higher when we tested their HIV-1 RNA (95%) than when we tested their HIV-1 DNA (88%), whereas at 6 weeks after sdNVP therapy, the proportion was greater with DNA (85%) than with RNA (67%) and remained higher with DNA (33%) than with RNA (11%) at the initiation of antiretroviral treatment (median, 45 weeks after sdNVP therapy). Fourteen women started NVP-ART more than 6 months after sdNVP therapy; resistance was detected by OLA in 14% of the women but only in their DNA. HIV-1 resistance to NVP following sdNVP therapy persists longer in cellular DNA than in plasma RNA, as determined by a sensitive assay using sufficient copies of virus, suggesting that DNA may be superior to RNA for detecting resistance at the initiation of ART.
PMCID: PMC2863880  PMID: 20181911
2.  Efficacy of Short-Course AZT Plus 3TC to Reduce Nevirapine Resistance in the Prevention of Mother-to-Child HIV Transmission: A Randomized Clinical Trial 
PLoS Medicine  2009;6(10):e1000172.
Neil Martinson and colleagues report a randomized trial of adding short-course zidovudine+lamivudine to reduce drug resistance from single-dose nevirapine used to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
Single-dose nevirapine (sdNVP)—which prevents mother-to-child transmission of HIV—selects non-nucleoside reverse-transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) resistance mutations in the majority of women and HIV-infected infants receiving it. This open-label, randomised trial examined the efficacy of short-course zidovudine (AZT) and lamivudine (3TC) with sdNVP in reducing NNRTI resistance in mothers, and as a secondary objective, in infants, in a setting where sdNVP was standard-of-care.
Methods and Findings
sdNVP alone, administered at the onset of labour and to the infant, was compared to sdNVP with AZT plus 3TC, given as combivir (CBV) for 4 (NVP/CBV4) or 7 (NVP/CBV7) days, initiated simultaneously with sdNVP in labour; their newborns received the same regimens. Women were randomised 1∶1∶1. HIV-1 resistance was assessed by population sequencing at: baseline, 2, and 6 wk after birth. An unplanned interim analysis resulted in early stopping of the sdNVP arm. 406 pregnant women were randomised and took study medication (sdNVP 74, NVP/CBV4 164, and NVP/CBV7 168). HIV-1 resistance mutations emerged in 59.2%, 11.7%, and 7.3% of women in the sdNVP, NVP/CBV4, and NVP/CBV7 arms by 6 wk postpartum; differences between NVP-only and both NVP/CBV arms were significant (p<0.0001), but the difference between NVP/CBV4 and NVP/CBV7 was not (p = 0.27). Estimated efficacy comparing combined CBV arms with sdNVP was 85.6%. Similar resistance reductions were seen in infants who were HIV-infected by their 6-wk visit.
A short course of AZT plus 3TC, supplementing maternal and infant sdNVP, reduces emergent NNRTI resistance mutations in both mothers and their infants. However, this trial was not powered to detect small differences between the CBV arms.
Trial registration NCT 00144183
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Currently, about 33 million people are infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which causes AIDS. HIV can be treated with combination antiretroviral therapy (ART), commonly three individual antiretroviral drugs that together efficiently suppress the replication of the virus. HIV infection of a child by an HIV-positive mother during pregnancy, labor, delivery, or breastfeeding is called mother-to-child transmission (MTCT). In 2007, an estimated 420,000 children were newly infected with HIV, the majority through MTCT. Most of these mothers and children live in sub-Saharan Africa where child and maternal mortality rates are high and mortality in HIV-infected children is extremely high. MTCT is preventable and there is a global commitment, agreed at the UN General Assembly Session on HIV/AIDS in 2001, to reduce the proportion of infants infected with HIV by 50% by 2010.
Why Was This Study Done?
In many resource-limited settings, MTCT is prevented by giving a single dose of nevirapine (an antiretroviral drug which has a long duration in the body and protects the fetus during labor and delivery only) to HIV-infected women in labor and also to a baby within 72 hours of birth. However, nevirapine, a non-nucleoside reverse-transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI), which suppresses the replication of the virus, is associated with increased resistance of HIV, in mother and child, to NNRTI. This resistance reduces the effectiveness of future treatments of both mother and child with combination ART that includes an NNRTI; such regimens are the mainstay for long-term treatment of HIV in developing countries. The researchers investigated whether giving other antiretroviral drugs with nevirapine, during labor and delivery, to both mother and her newborn reduced the chances of them developing resistance to NNRTIs.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers selected 406 HIV-positive pregnant women for study across five sites in South Africa between February 2003 and May 2007. The women and their newborn babies were randomly assigned to receive, either (i) a single dose of nevirapine, (ii) a single dose of nevirapine plus combivir (zidovudine combined with lamivudine) for four days, or (iii) a single dose of nevirapine plus combivir for seven days. At two days, two weeks, and six weeks after delivery blood was collected from mothers and babies. HIV virus from blood samples was analyzed for resistance mutations, and mothers and children with resistance mutations were monitored for a further 96 weeks until no resistance was detected or combination ART (also called “HAART”) was started. Enrollment into the single-dose nevirapine arm was stopped early because a very high rate of NNRTI resistance mutations was found and other investigators reported long-term bad consequences of NNRTI-resistance on subsequent ART. The two nevirapine plus combivir arms were continued. The researchers found that selection of resistance mutations by single-dose nevirapine was reduced in mother and child by the addition of zidovudine and lamivudine for a short period; resistance mutations were found in 59.2% of women who got nevirapine only but only 11.7%, and 7.3% of women treated nevirapine plus four days combivir, and nevirapine plus seven days combivir respectively. A reduction was also seen in new NNRTI resistant mutations in the HIV-infected infants that received combivir. The study did not have enough women to show that there was a real difference between the resistance in the four-day and seven-day combivir regimens.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings show that a short-course treatment of zidovudine and lamivudine in addition to a single dose of nevirapine during labor and birth reduces the selection of NNRTI resistance mutations in both mother and child. The drug regimens appeared safe, and easy to provide and adhere to. Preliminary results from this study contributed to a change in clinical practice for the care of pregnant women with HIV; in 2004 the World Health Organisation guidelines introduced a short course of combivir with nevirapine for the management of pregnant HIV-infected women. However, the study had some limitations. It used HIV-positive women who were mainly infected with a subtype of HIV called HIV-1 clade C and who had a lot of virus in their blood. NNRTI resistance after treatment with nevirapine is more common in clade C than in others and this study does not address the effect of these combinations for preventing NNRTI resistance in other HIV subtypes. Also, World Health Organization, national, and international guidelines recommend combination ART during pregnancy, as it decreases HIV transmission from mother to child in the uterus to <2% in resource-limited settings. Although long-term combination treatment may not be available in all locations, this study does not tell us how the short-term combinations during and after delivery tested would compare to longer-term combinations given to pregnant women in reducing both HIV transmission and HIV drug resistance.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
This study is further discussed in a PLoS Medicine Perspective by Lehman et al.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provide information for HIV treatment and prevention
MedlinePlus provides extensive information on symptoms and treatment for HIV/AIDS as well as access to related clinical trials and medical literature
aidsmap, a nonprofit, nongovernmental organization provides information on HIV and supporting those living with HIV
The World Health Organization gives information on the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV
PMCID: PMC2760761  PMID: 19859531
3.  Persistent Minority K103N Mutations among Women Exposed to Single-Dose Nevirapine and Virologic Response to Nonnucleoside Reverse-Transcriptase Inhibitor–Based Therapy 
We investigated whether there are long-lasting effects of exposure to single-dose nevirapine (sdNVP) treatment on virologic response to nonnucleoside reverse-transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI)–based therapy among human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)–infected women.
An observational epidemiologic study was conducted in Johannesburg, South Africa. Initial and sustained virologic response to NNRTI-based therapy was compared between 94 HIV-infected women who had received sdNVP 18–36 months earlier and 60 unexposed, HIV-infected women who had been pregnant 12–36 months earlier. Viral load was measured every 4 weeks up to week 24 and then every 12 weeks up to week 78. Time to viral suppression (viral load, <50 copies/mL) and confirmed rebound in the viral load (viral load, >400 copies/mL) were compared. Drug resistance was assessed using K103N allele–specific real-time polymerase chain reaction assay and population sequencing.
Almost all women (97.5% of sdNVP-exposed women and 91.3% of sdNVP-unexposed women; P = .21) achieved viral suppression by week 24, and similar percentages of sdNVP-exposed and -unexposed women (19.4% and 15.1%, respectively) experienced viral rebound within 78 weeks after treatment (P = .57). K103N was detected with the K103N allele–specific real-time polymerase chain reaction assay among sdNVP-exposed and - unexposed women before treatment; detection was strongly predictive of inadequate viral response: 60.9% of women for whom K103N was detected in either viral RNA or DNA did not experience viral suppression or experienced viral rebound, compared with 15.1% of women for whom K103N was not detected (P < .001). After treatment, the M184V mutation occurred less frequently among sdNVP-exposed women than among sdNVP-unexposed women, but the frequency of NNRTI-associated mutations was similar between these groups of women with inadequate virologic response.
Exposure to sdNVP in the prior 18–36 months was not associated with a reduced likelihood of achieving and sustaining viral suppression while receiving NNRTI-based therapy. However, women with minority K103N mutations before treatment had a reduced durability of virologic suppression.
PMCID: PMC2810158  PMID: 19133804
4.  Nevirapine- Versus Lopinavir/Ritonavir-Based Initial Therapy for HIV-1 Infection among Women in Africa: A Randomized Trial 
PLoS Medicine  2012;9(6):e1001236.
In a randomized control trial, Shahin Lockman and colleagues compare nevirapine-based therapy with lopinavir/ritonavir-based therapy for HIV-infected women without previous exposure to antiretroviral treatment.
Nevirapine (NVP) is widely used in antiretroviral treatment (ART) of HIV-1 globally. The primary objective of the AA5208/OCTANE trial was to compare the efficacy of NVP-based versus lopinavir/ritonavir (LPV/r)-based initial ART.
Methods and Findings
In seven African countries (Botswana, Kenya, Malawi, South Africa, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe), 500 antiretroviral-naïve HIV-infected women with CD4<200 cells/mm3 were enrolled into a two-arm randomized trial to initiate open-label ART with tenofovir (TDF)/emtricitabine (FTC) once/day plus either NVP (n = 249) or LPV/r (n = 251) twice/day, and followed for ≥48 weeks. The primary endpoint was time from randomization to death or confirmed virologic failure ([VF]) (plasma HIV RNA<1 log10 below baseline 12 weeks after treatment initiation, or ≥400 copies/ml at or after 24 weeks), with comparison between treatments based on hazard ratios (HRs) in intention-to-treat analysis. Equivalence of randomized treatments was defined as finding the 95% CI for HR for virological failure or death in the range 0.5 to 2.0. Baseline characteristics were (median): age = 34 years, CD4 = 121 cells/mm3, HIV RNA = 5.2 log10copies/ml. Median follow-up = 118 weeks; 29 (6%) women were lost to follow-up. 42 women (37 VFs, five deaths; 17%) in the NVP and 50 (43 VFs, seven deaths; 20%) in the LPV/r arm reached the primary endpoint (HR 0.85, 95% CI 0.56–1.29). During initial assigned treatment, 14% and 16% of women receiving NVP and LPV/r experienced grade 3/4 signs/symptoms and 26% and 22% experienced grade 3/4 laboratory abnormalities. However, 35 (14%) women discontinued NVP because of adverse events, most in the first 8 weeks, versus none for LPV/r (p<0.001). VF, death, or permanent treatment discontinuation occurred in 80 (32%) of NVP and 54 (22%) of LPV/r arms (HR = 1.7, 95% CI 1.2–2.4), with the difference primarily due to more treatment discontinuation in the NVP arm. 13 (45%) of 29 women tested in the NVP versus six (15%) of 40 in the LPV/r arm had any drug resistance mutation at time of VF.
Initial ART with NVP+TDF/FTC demonstrated equivalent virologic efficacy but higher rates of treatment discontinuation and new drug resistance compared with LPV/r+TDF/FTC in antiretroviral-naïve women with CD4<200 cells/mm3.
Trial registration NCT00089505
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
About 34 million people (mostly living in low- or middle-income countries) are currently infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. HIV destroys CD4 lymphocytes and other immune cells, leaving infected individuals susceptible to other infections. Early in the AIDS epidemic, most HIV-infected people died within 10 years of infection. Then, in 1996, antiretroviral therapy (ART)—cocktails of drugs that attack different parts of HIV—became available. For people living in affluent countries, HIV/AIDS became a chronic condition. But, because ART was expensive, for people living in developing countries, HIV/AIDS remained a fatal illness. In 2006, the international community set a target of achieving universal access to ART by 2010 and, although this target has not been reached, by the end of 2010, 6.6 million of the estimated 15 million people in need of ART in developing countries were receiving one of the ART regimens recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) in its 2010 guidelines.
Why Was This Study Done?
A widely used combination for the initial treatment of HIV-infected people (particularly women) in resource-limited settings is tenofovir and emtricitabine (both nucleotide reverse transcriptase inhibitors; reverse transcriptase is essential for HIV replication) and nevirapine (NVP, a non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor). However, little is known about the efficacy of this NVP-based ART combination. Moreover, its efficacy and toxicity has not been compared with regimens containing lopinavir/ritonavir (LPV/r). LPV/r, which inhibits the viral protease that is essential for HIV replication, is available in resource-limited settings but is usually reserved for second-line treatment. LPV/r-based ART is more expensive than NVP-based ART but if it were more effective or better tolerated than NVP-based ART, then first-line treatment with LPV/r-based ART might be cost-effective in resource-limited settings. Conversely, evidence of the clinical equivalence of NVP-based and LPV/r-based ART would provide support for NVP-based ART as an initial therapy. In this randomized equivalence trial, the researchers compare the efficacy and toxicity of NVP-based and LVP/r-based initial therapy for HIV infection among antiretroviral-naïve African women. In a randomized trial, patients are assigned different treatments by the play of chance and followed to compare the effects of these treatments; an equivalence trial asks whether the effects of two treatments are statistically equivalent.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers followed 500 antiretroviral-naïve HIV-infected women with a low CD4 cell count living in seven African countries, half of whom received NVP-based ART and half of whom received LPV/r-based ART, for an average of 118 weeks and recorded the time to virologic failure (the presence of virus in the blood above pre-specified levels) or death among the participants. Forty-two women in the NVP arm reached this primary endpoint (37 virologic failures and five deaths) compared to 50 women in the LPV/r arm (43 virologic failures and seven deaths), a result that indicates equivalent virologic efficacy according to preset statistical criteria. During the initial assigned treatment, similar proportions of women in both treatment arms developed serious drug-related signs and symptoms and laboratory abnormalities. However, whereas 14% of the women in the NVP arm discontinued treatment because of adverse effects, none of the women in the LPV/r arm discontinued treatment. Finally, nearly half of the women tested in the NVP arm but only 15% of the women tested in the LVP/r arm had developed any drug resistance at the time of virologic failure.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate that, among HIV-infected, treatment-naïve African women, initial NVP-based ART is as effective as LPV/r-based ART in terms of virologic failure and death although more women in the NVP arm discontinued treatment or developed new drug resistance than in the LPV/r arm. Several limitations of this study may affect the accuracy of these findings. In particular, some of the study participants may have been exposed to single-dose NVP during childbirth to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV; in a parallel randomized trial, the researchers found that LPV/r-based ART was superior to NVP-based ART among women with prior exposure to single-dose NVP. Moreover, the duration of the current study means the long-term effects of the two treatments cannot be compared. Nevertheless, these findings support the WHO recommendation of NVP-based ART with careful early toxicity monitoring as an initial affordable and effective HIV treatment regiment in resource-limited settings, until access to better-tolerated and more potent regimens is possible.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
Information is available from the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases on all aspects of HIV infection and AIDS
NAM/aidsmap provides basic information about HIV/AIDS, and summaries of recent research findings on HIV care and treatment (in several languages)
Information is available from Avert, an international AIDS charity on many aspects of HIV/AIDS, including detailed information on HIV treatment and care (in English and Spanish)
WHO provides information about universal access to AIDS treatment (in English, French and Spanish); its 2010 ART guidelines can be downloaded
More information about this trial, the OCTANE trial, is available
MedlinePlus provides detailed information about nevirapine and lopinavir/ritinovir (in English and Spanish)
Patient stories about living with HIV/AIDS are available through Avert; the nonprofit website Healthtalkonline also provides personal stories about living with HIV, including stories about taking anti-HIV drugs and the challenges of anti-HIV drugs
PMCID: PMC3373629  PMID: 22719231
5.  Low-Frequency Nevirapine (NVP)–Resistant HIV-1 Variants Are Not Associated With Failure of Antiretroviral Therapy in Women Without Prior Exposure to Single-Dose NVP 
The Journal of Infectious Diseases  2014;209(5):703-710.
Background. Low-frequency nevirapine (NVP)–resistant variants have been associated with virologic failure (VF) of initial NVP-based combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) in women with prior exposure to single-dose NVP (sdNVP). We investigated whether a similar association exists in women without prior sdNVP exposure.
Methods. Pre-cART plasma was analyzed by allele-specific polymerase chain reaction to quantify NVP-resistant mutants in human immunodeficiency virus–infected African women without prior sdNVP who were starting first-line NVP-based cART in the OCTANE/A5208 trial 2. Associations between NVP-resistant mutants and VF or death were determined and compared with published results from women participating in the OCTANE/A5208 trial 1 who had taken sdNVP and initiated NVP-based cART.
Results. Pre-cART NVP-resistant variants were detected in 18% (39/219) of women without prior sdNVP exposure, compared to 45% (51/114) with prior sdNVP exposure (P < .001). Among women without prior sdNVP exposure, 8 of 39 (21%) with NVP-resistant variants experienced VF or death vs 31 of 180 (17%) without such variants (P = .65); this compares with 21 of 51 (41%) vs 9 of 63 (14%) among women with prior exposure (P = .001).
Conclusions. The risk of VF on NVP-based cART from NVP-resistant variants differs between sdNVP-exposed and -unexposed women. This difference may be driven by drug-resistance mutations emerging after sdNVP exposure that are linked on the same viral genome.
Clinical Trials Registration NCT00089505.
PMCID: PMC3923545  PMID: 24443547
minor drug-resistant variants; single-dose nevirapine; antiretroviral therapy failure
6.  Minor resistant variants in nevirapine-exposed infants may predict virologic failure on nevirapine-containing ART 
Single-dose nevirapine (sdNVP) is widely used to prevent mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV-1. This may result in NVP resistance in both mother and infant. The significance of low levels of NVP resistance mutations in infants treated with NVP-containing antiretroviral treatment (ART) is unknown.
To determine the presence of pre-treatment NVP resistance in HIV-infected infants with and without prior NVP exposure.
Study Design
33 HIV-1-infected infants in a PMTCT trial received NVP-containing ART (26 infants with prior NVP exposure). Plasma and buffy coat samples obtained prior to ART initiation were evaluated for drug resistance by bulk sequencing and allele-specific PCR (ASPCR).
ViroSeq™ identified NVP resistance in 3 of 33 infants; all failed first-line therapy. Pre-ART plasma NVP resistance by ASPCR was detected in 9 of 16 children experiencing virologic failure compared to 4 of 17 children without virologic failure (risk ratio 2.4, CI 0.94-7.8, p=0.08). Proviral resistance was not associated with virologic failure (risk ratio 1.2, CI 0.8-2.0, p= 0.40). In the nevirapine-exposed infants, those who started ART before 7 months had higher risk of virologic failure (RR 2.3; CI 0.96-9.2; p=0.11).
Low level drug resistance detected in plasma after NVP exposure prior to ART initiation may be associated with virologic failure on ART, while resistance in the DNA reservoir was not predictive of treatment outcome.
PMCID: PMC2909836  PMID: 20427228
HIV; minor variant; drug resistance; nevirapine; PMTCT
7.  Low-frequency nevirapine resistance at multiple sites may predict treatment failure in infants on nevirapine-based treatment 
Resistance commonly arises in infants exposed to single-dose nevirapine (sdNVP) for prevention of mother to child transmission (PMTCT). While K103N and Y181C are common following sdNVP, multiple other mutations also confer NVP-resistance. It remains unclear whether specific NVP-resistance mutations or combinations of mutations predict virologic failure in infants when present at low frequencies prior to NVP-based treatment.
Twenty sdNVP-exposed infants who were subsequently treated with NVP-based highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) were examined. Pre-treatment plasma samples were tested for the presence of NVP-resistance mutations by allele-specific PCR (ASPCR) for K103N and Y181C and ultra-deep pyrosequencing (UDPS) for all primary NVP mutations. Viral levels were determined every 3 months for up to 24months on NVP-HAART. Cox proportional hazard models were used to determine correlates of viral failure.
The NVP resistance mutations K103N or Y181C were detected in pre-treatment plasma samples in 6 infants by ASPCR. NVP resistance at these or other sites was detectable by UDPS in 10 out of 20 infants tested. Virologic failure occurred in 50% of infants with any NVP resistance mutations detected, while only 20% of infants without resistance experienced viral failure, but the difference was not significant (p=0.19). An increase in the number of NVP resistance mutations detectable by UDPS in an infant was significantly associated with an increased risk of virologic failure (HR=1.79 (95%CI: 1.07, 2.99), p=0.027).
Low frequencies of multiple NVP resistance mutations, in addition to K103N and Y181C, present in infants before NVP-based treatment may predict treatment outcome.
PMCID: PMC3383885  PMID: 22395670
HIV; infants; nevirapine; resistance; HAART; treatment failure
8.  Effectiveness of Non-nucleoside Reverse-Transcriptase Inhibitor-Based Antiretroviral Therapy in Women Previously Exposed to a Single Intrapartum Dose of Nevirapine: A Multi-country, Prospective Cohort Study 
PLoS Medicine  2010;7(2):e1000233.
In a comparative cohort study, Jeffrey Stringer and colleagues investigate the risk of ART failure in women who received single-dose nevirapine for PMTCT, and assess the duration of increased risk.
Intrapartum and neonatal single-dose nevirapine (NVP) reduces the risk of mother-to-child HIV transmission but also induces viral resistance to non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) drugs. This drug resistance largely fades over time. We hypothesized that women with a prior single-dose NVP exposure would have no more than a 10% higher cumulative prevalence of failure of their NNRTI-containing antiretroviral therapy (ART) over the first 48 wk of therapy than would women without a prior exposure.
Methods and Findings
We enrolled 355 NVP-exposed and 523 NVP-unexposed women at two sites in Zambia, one site in Kenya, and two sites in Thailand into a prospective, non-inferiority cohort study and followed them for 48 wk on ART. Those who died, discontinued NNRTI-containing ART, or had a plasma viral load ≥400 copies/ml at either the 24 wk or 48 wk study visits and confirmed on repeat testing were characterized as having failed therapy. Overall, 114 of 355 NVP-exposed women (32.1%) and 132 of 523 NVP-unexposed women (25.2%) met criteria for treatment failure. The difference in failure rates between the exposure groups was 6.9% (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.8%–13.0%). The failure rates of women stratified by our predefined exposure interval categories were as follows: 47 of 116 women in whom less than 6 mo elapsed between exposure and starting ART failed therapy (40%; p<0.001 compared to unexposed women); 25 of 67 women in whom 7–12 mo elapsed between exposure and starting ART failed therapy (37%; p = 0.04 compared to unexposed women); and 42 of 172 women in whom more than 12 mo elapsed between exposure and starting ART failed therapy (24%; p = 0.82 compared to unexposed women). Locally weighted regression analysis also indicated a clear inverse relationship between virologic failure and the exposure interval.
Prior exposure to single-dose NVP was associated with an increased risk of treatment failure; however, this risk seems largely confined to women with a more recent exposure. Women requiring ART within 12 mo of NVP exposure should not be prescribed an NNRTI-containing regimen as first-line therapy.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Every year, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) kills nearly 300,000 children. At the end of 2008, 2.1 million children were positive for the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the cause of AIDS, and in that year alone more than 400,000 children were newly infected with HIV. Most HIV-positive children acquire the virus from their mothers during pregnancy or birth or through breastfeeding, so-called mother-to-child transmission (MTCT). Without intervention, 15%–30% of babies born to HIV-positive women become infected with HIV during pregnancy and delivery, and a further 5%–20% become infected through breastfeeding. These rates of infection can be greatly reduced by treating the mother and her newborn baby with antiretroviral drugs. A single dose of nevirapine (a “non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor” or NNRTI) given to the mother at the start of labor and to the baby soon after birth reduces the risk of MTCT by nearly a half; a further reduction in risk can be achieved by giving the mother and her baby additional antiretroviral drugs during pregnancy, around the time of birth, and while breast-feeding.
Why Was This Study Done?
Single-dose nevirapine is the mainstay of MTCT prevention programs in many poor countries but can induce resistance to nevirapine and to other NNRTIs. The drugs used to treat HIV infections fall into several different classes defined by how they stop viral growth. HIV can become resistant to any of these drugs and a virus strain that is resistant to one member of a drug class is often also resistant to other members of the same class. Because most first-line antiretroviral therapies (ARTs; cocktails of antiretroviral drugs) used in developing countries contain an NNRTI and because HIV-positive mothers eventually need ART to safeguard their own health, the resistance to NNRTIs that is induced in women by single-dose nevirapine might decrease the chances that ART will work for them later. In this multi-country, prospective cohort study, the researchers compare the effectiveness of NNRTI-containing ART in a group (cohort) of women previously exposed to single-dose nevirapine during childbirth to its effectiveness in a group of unexposed women. They also investigate whether the length of time between nevirapine exposure and ART initiation affects ART effectiveness.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers enrolled 355 HIV-positive nevirapine-exposed women and 523 HIV-positive nevirapine-unexposed women in Zambia, Kenya, and Thailand who were just starting NNRTI-containing ART and followed them for 48 weeks. They defined ART failure as death, discontinuation of NNRTI-containing ART, or a high virus load in the blood (virologic failure) at 24 or 48 weeks. ART failed in nearly a third of the nevirapine-exposed women but in only a quarter of the nevirapine-unexposed women. Women who began ART within 6 months of taking single-dose nevirapine to prevent MTCT were twice as likely to experience ART failure as women not exposed to single-dose nevirapine. Women who began ART 7–12 months after single-dose nevirapine had a slightly increased risk of ART failure compared to unexposed women but this increased risk was not statistically significant; that is, it could have occurred by chance. Women who began ART more than 12 months after single-dose nevirapine did not have an increased risk of ART failure compared to unexposed women. Finally, the researchers used a statistical method called locally weighted regression analysis to confirm that an increase in the interval between single-dose nevirapine and ART initiation decreased the risk of virologic failure.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings, which confirm and extend the results of previous studies and which are likely to be generalizable to other resource-poor countries, indicate that single-dose nevirapine given to women to prevent MTCT increases their risk of subsequent ART failure. More positively, they also show that this increased failure risk is largely confined to women who begin ART within a year of exposure to nevirapine. Because of the study design, it is possible that the nevirapine-exposed women share some additional, undefined characteristic that makes them more likely to fail ART than unexposed women. Even so, these findings suggest that, provided NNRTI-containing ART is not given to HIV-positive women within a year of nevirapine exposure, single-dose nevirapine can be safely used to prevent MTCT without compromising the mother's future antiretroviral treatment options.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
Information is available from the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases on HIV infection and AIDS, on treatments for HIV/AIDS, and on HIV infection in infants and children
HIV InSite has comprehensive information on all aspects of HIV/AIDS
Information is available from Avert, an international AIDS charity, on many aspects of HIV/AIDS, including information on children, HIV, and AIDS and on preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV (in English and Spanish)
UNICEF also has information about children and HIV and AIDS (in several languages)
The World Health Organization has information on mother-to-child transmission of HIV
PMCID: PMC2821896  PMID: 20169113
9.  Ultrasensitive Detection of Minor Drug-Resistant Variants for HIV After Nevirapine Exposure Using Allele-Specific PCR: Clinical Significance 
HIV-1 drug resistance mutations have been detected at low frequencies after single-dose nevirapine (sdNVP) for prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT). We investigated the relationship between these “minor variant” NVP-resistant viruses and clinical outcome with NVP-containing antiretroviral therapy (ART). An allele-specific quantitative PCR (ASPCR) assay was used to quantify the pre-ART frequency of K103N and Y181C in 26 women who had received sdNVP. The cohort was composed of 7 patients who experienced virologic failure and 19 control patients who maintained virologic suppression on NVP-containing ART; all were negative for resistance by standard genotyping. NVP resistance mutations were found in 17 of 26 (65%) patients using ASPCR. The frequency of NVP-resistant viruses ranged from 0.1% to 4.11%. Receiver operating characteristics (ROC) analysis identified a clinical threshold frequency of 0.19% for the ASPCR assay. Application of this threshold demonstrated minor variant resistance in 6 of 7 patients (86%) who failed treatment compared to 6 of 19 patients (32%) who were successful (OR = 13; 95% CI 1.27–133). ASPCR provides a means of detecting minor variant drug-resistant viruses that may impact subsequent treatment response. These data suggest a clinical role for highly sensitive assays to detect and quantify resistant viruses at low frequencies.
PMCID: PMC2864062  PMID: 20334564
10.  Incidence and risk factors for first line anti retroviral treatment failure among Ugandan children attending an urban HIV clinic 
Early recognition of antiretroviral therapy (ART) failure in resource limited settings is a challenge given the limited laboratory facilities and trained personnel. This study aimed at describing the incidence, risk factors and the resistance associated mutations (RAMs) of first line treatment failure among HIV-1-infected children attending the Joint Clinical Research Centre (JCRC), Kampala, Uganda.
A retrospective cohort of 701 children who had been initiated on ART between January 2004 and September 2009 at the JCRC was studied. Data of children aged 6 months up to 18 years who had been started on ART for at least 6 months was extracted from the clinic charts. The children who failed the first-line ART were taken as cases and those who did not fail as the controls. Data was analysed using STATA version10.
Of 701 children, 240(34%) failed on first line ART (cases) and 461(66%) did not fail (controls). The overall median time (IQR) to first line ART failure was 26.4 (18.9 – 39.1) months. The factors associated with treatment failure were poor adherence [(OR = 10, 95 CI: 6.4 – 16.7) p < 0.001], exposure to single dose nevirapine (sdNVP) [(OR = 4.2, 95% CI:1.8-9.4), p = 0.005] and a NVP containing regimen [(OR = 2.2,95% CI:1.4-3.6), p < 0.001]. Of 109 genotypic resistance profiles analyzed, the commonest non nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) resistance associated mutations (RAM) were: K103N (59; 54%)), Y181C (36; 27%)) and G190A (26; 24%)) while the commonest nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI) RAM was the M184V (89; 81%). Thymidine analogue- mutations (TAMs) were detected in 20% of patients.
One in three children on first-line ART are likely to develop virological treatment failure after the first 24 months of therapy. Poor adherence to ART, a NVP based first-line regimen, prior exposure to sdNVP were associated with treatment failure.
PMCID: PMC3832883  PMID: 24215971
11.  Analysis of Drug Resistance in Children Receiving Antiretroviral Therapy for Treatment of HIV-1 Infection in Uganda 
We analyzed drug resistance in HIV-infected Ugandan children who received antiretroviral therapy in a prospective, observational study (2004–2006); some children had prior single-dose nevirapine (sdNVP) exposure. Children received stavudine (d4T), lamivudine (3TC), and nevirapine (NVP); treatment was continued if they were clinically and immunologically stable. Samples with >1,000 copies/ml HIV RNA were analyzed by using the ViroSeq HIV Genotyping System (ViroSeq). Subtype A and D pretreatment samples also were analyzed with the LigAmp assay (for K103N, Y181C, and G190A). ViroSeq results were obtained for 74 pretreatment samples (35 from sdNVP-exposed children (median age, 19 months) and 39 from sdNVP-unexposed children (median age, 84 months). This included 39 subtype A, 22 subtype D, 1 subtype C, and 12 inter-subtype recombinant samples. One sample had nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) resistance, one had nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI) resistance, and three had protease inhibitor (PI) resistance. Y181C was detected by using LigAmp in five pretreatment samples [four (14.8%) of 37 samples from sdNVP-exposed children, one (4.2%) of 24 samples from children without prior sdNVP exposure; p = 0.35]. Among children who were not virally suppressed at 48 weeks of treatment, all 12 tested had NNRTI resistance, as well as resistance to 3TC and emtricitibine (FTC); three had resistance to other NRTIs. Seven of those children had a ViroSeq result at 96 weeks of treatment; four of the seven acquired resistance to additional NRTIs by 96 weeks. In Uganda, clinically and immunologically stable children receiving nonsuppressive antiretroviral treatment regimens are at risk for development of drug resistance.
PMCID: PMC2875950  PMID: 20455758
12.  Short Communication: In Utero HIV Infection Is Associated with an Increased Risk of Nevirapine Resistance in Ugandan Infants Who Were Exposed to Perinatal Single Dose Nevirapine 
Use of single dose nevirapine (sdNVP) to prevent HIV mother-to-child transmission is associated with the emergence of NVP resistance in many infants who are HIV infected despite prophylaxis. We combined results from four clinical trials to analyze predictors of NVP resistance in sdNVP-exposed Ugandan infants. Samples were tested with the ViroSeq HIV Genotyping System and a sensitive point mutation assay (LigAmp, for detection of K103N, Y181C, and G190A). NVP resistance was detected at 6–8 weeks in 36 (45.0%) of 80 infants using ViroSeq and 33 (45.8%) of 72 infants using LigAmp. NVP resistance was more frequent among infants who were infected in utero than among infants who were diagnosed with HIV infection after birth by 6–8 weeks of age. Detection of NVP resistance at 6–8 weeks was not associated with HIV subtype (A vs. D), pre-NVP maternal viral load or CD4 cell count, infant viral load at 6–8 weeks, or infant sex. NVP resistance was still detected in some infants 6–12 months after sdNVP exposure. In this study, in utero HIV infection was the only factor associated with detection of NVP resistance in infants 6–8 weeks after sdNVP exposure.
PMCID: PMC2752753  PMID: 19552593
13.  Short Communication: In Utero HIV Infection Is Associated with an Increased Risk of Nevirapine Resistance in Ugandan Infants Who Were Exposed to Perinatal Single Dose Nevirapine 
Use of single dose nevirapine (sdNVP) to prevent HIV mother-to-child transmission is associated with the emergence of NVP resistance in many infants who are HIV infected despite prophylaxis. We combined results from four clinical trials to analyze predictors of NVP resistance in sdNVP-exposed Ugandan infants. Samples were tested with the ViroSeq HIV Genotyping System and a sensitive point mutation assay (LigAmp, for detection of K103N, Y181C, and G190A). NVP resistance was detected at 6–8 weeks in 36 (45.0%) of 80 infants using ViroSeq and 33 (45.8%) of 72 infants using LigAmp. NVP resistance was more frequent among infants who were infected in utero than among infants who were diagnosed with HIV infection after birth by 6–8 weeks of age. Detection of NVP resistance at 6–8 weeks was not associated with HIV subtype (A vs. D), pre-NVP maternal viral load or CD4 cell count, infant viral load at 6–8 weeks, or infant sex. NVP resistance was still detected in some infants 6–12 months after sdNVP exposure. In this study, in utero HIV infection was the only factor associated with detection of NVP resistance in infants 6–8 weeks after sdNVP exposure.
PMCID: PMC2752753  PMID: 19552593
14.  Impact of Nevirapine (NVP) Plasma Concentration on Selection of Resistant Virus in Mothers Who Received Single-Dose NVP To Prevent Perinatal Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 Transmission and Persistence of Resistant Virus in Their Infected Children▿  
Nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor resistance following the use of single-dose nevirapine (sdNVP) for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) remains a concern. In the ANRS-1201/1202 Ditrame study, conducted in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, a short-course regimen of zidovudine was associated with sdNVP for PMTCT. In this study, we estimate the frequency of NVP resistance and its relationship with NVP concentration in mothers. Genotypic resistance analysis was performed on mothers' plasma samples at week 4 postpartum (PP) and on human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) DNA in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) when an NVP resistance mutation was detected. The same tests were performed for the infected children at week 4, month 3, and month 12. Mothers' NVP plasma concentrations were measured at 48 h PP. Twenty-one (33%) of the 63 women selected had NVP-resistant (NVP-R) virus at week 4 PP. The median plasma NVP concentration was 598 ng/ml for the mothers without NVP-R virus compared to 851 ng/ml for the mothers harboring NVP-R virus (P = 0.014). NVP-R mutations were detected in the HIV DNA of 15/20 women. Plasma NVP-R mutations were detectable in 6 of 26 infected children at week 4. All 6 children had detectable NVP-R mutations in HIV DNA of PBMC. Blood samples taken at month 3 (1 child) and month 12 (1 child) revealed the persistence of NVP-R mutations in plasma and cells. Emergence of NVP-R virus in mothers is strongly correlated with a high level of plasma NVP concentration, owing to a prolonged postpartum period of viral replication under NVP selective pressure. The follow-up of the cohort demonstrates the prolonged archive of resistant virus.
PMCID: PMC1803117  PMID: 17178792
15.  Greater Suppression of Nevirapine Resistance With 21- vs 7-Day Antiretroviral Regimens After Intrapartum Single-Dose Nevirapine for Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV 
Seven- or 21-day regimens of tenofovir/emtricitabine, zidovudine/lamivudine, or lopinavir/ritonavir after single-dose nevirapine (NVP) were effective in suppressing NVP resistance detected by population genotype. Allele-specific polymerase chain reaction revealed that the 21-day regimens were significantly better at preventing the emergence of minor NVP resistance.
Background. Nevirapine (NVP) resistance emerges in up to 70% of women exposed to single-dose (sd) NVP for prevention of mother-to-child transmission of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
Methods. HIV-infected pregnant women were randomized to receive sdNVP and either zidovudine/lamivudine (3TC), tenofovir/emtricitabine (FTC), or lopinavir/ritonavir for either 7 or 21 days. The primary endpoint was the emergence of new NVP resistance mutations as detected by standard population genotype at 2 and 6 weeks after treatment. Low-frequency NVP- or 3TC/FTC-resistant mutants at codons 103, 181, and 184 were sought using allele-specific polymerase chain reaction (ASP).
Results. Among 484 women randomized, 422 (87%) received study treatment. Four hundred twelve (98%) women had primary endpoint results available; of these, 5 (1.2%) had new NVP resistance detected by population genotype: 4 of 215 in the 7-day arms (1.9%; K103N in 4 women with Y181C, Y188C, or G190A in 3 of 4) and 1 of 197 (0.5%; V108I) in the 21-day arms (P = .37). Among women with ASP results, new NVP resistance mutations emerged significantly more often in the 7-day arms (13/74 [18%]) than in the 21-day arms (3/66 [5%], P = .019). 3TC/FTC-resistant mutants (M184V/I) emerged infrequently (7/134 [5%]), and their occurrence did not differ by arm.
Conclusions. Three short-term antiretroviral strategies, begun simultaneously with the administration of sdNVP, resulted in a low rate (1.2%) of new NVP-resistance mutations when assessed at 2 and 6 weeks following completion of study treatment by standard genotype. ASP revealed that 21-day regimens were significantly better than 7-day regimens at preventing the emergence of minor NVP resistance variants.
Clinical Trials Registration. NCT00099632.
PMCID: PMC3588119  PMID: 23300238
nevirapine; mother-to-child transmission; pregnancy; resistance; HIV
16.  Adherence and virologic suppression during the first 24 weeks on antiretroviral therapy among women in Johannesburg, South Africa - a prospective cohort study 
BMC Public Health  2011;11:88.
Adherence is a necessary part of successful antiretroviral treatment (ART). We assessed risk factors for incomplete adherence among a cohort of HIV-infected women initiating ART and examined associations between adherence and virologic response to ART.
A secondary data analysis was conducted on a cohort of 154 women initiating non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI)-based ART at a single site in Johannesburg, South Africa. Ninety women had been enrolled in a prevention of mother-to-child transmission (pMTCT) program and were exposed to single-dose nevirapine (sdNVP) >18 months earlier. Women were interviewed pre-treatment and clinical, virologic and adherence data were collected during follow-up to 24 weeks. Incomplete adherence to ART was defined as returning >5% of medications, estimated by pill counts at scheduled visits. Multivariable logistic regression analysis and unadjusted odds ratio (95%CI) were performed, using STATA/SE (ver 10.1).
About half of the women (53%) were <30 years of age, 63% had <11 years of schooling, 69% were unemployed and 37% lived in a shack. Seven percent of women had a viral load >400 copies/ml at 24 weeks and 37% had incomplete adherence at one or more visits. Incomplete adherence was associated with less education (p = 0.01) and lack of financial support from a partner (p = 0.02) after adjustment for confounders. Only when adherence levels dropped below 80% was there a significant association with viremia in the group overall (p = 0.02) although adherence <95% was associated with viremia in the sdNVP-exposed group (p = 0.03). The main reasons for incomplete adherence were being away from home, busy with other things and forgetting to take their medication.
Virologic response to NNRTI-treatment in the cohort was excellent. However, women who received sdNVP were at greater risk of virologic failure when adherence was <95%. Women exposed to sdNVP, and those with less education and less social support may benefit from additional adherence counseling to ensure the long-term success of ART. More than 80% adherence may be sufficient to maintain virologic suppression on NNRTI-based regimens in the short-term, however complete adherence should be encouraged.
PMCID: PMC3046911  PMID: 21303548
17.  Lower Risk of Resistance After Short-Course HAART Compared With Zidovudine/Single-Dose Nevirapine Used for Prevention of HIV-1 Mother-to-Child Transmission 
Antiretroviral resistance after short-course regimens used to prevent mother-to-child transmission has consequences for later treatment. Directly comparing the prevalence of resistance after short-course regimens of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) and zidovudine plus single-dose nevirapine (ZDV/sdNVP) will provide critical information when assessing the relative merits of these antiretroviral interventions.
In a clinical trial in Kenya, pregnant women were randomized to receive either ZDV/sdNVP or a short-course of HAART through 6 months of breastfeeding. Plasma samples were collected 3–12 months after treatment cessation, and resistance to reverse transcriptase inhibitors was assessed using both a sequencing assay and highly sensitive allele-specific polymerase chain reaction assays.
No mutations associated with resistance were detectable by sequencing in either the ZDV/sdNVP or HAART arms at 3 months posttreatment, indicating that resistant viruses were not present in >20% of virus. Using allele-specific polymerase chain reaction assays for K103N and Y181C, we detected low levels of resistant virus in 75% of women treated with ZDV/sdNVP and only 18% of women treated with HAART (P = 0.007). Y181C was more prevalent than K103N at 3 months and showed little evidence of decay by 12 months.
Our finding provides evidence that compared with ZDV/sdNVP, HAART reduces but does not eliminate nevirapine resistance.
PMCID: PMC2765911  PMID: 19502990
antiretroviral resistance; HIV; HAART; mother-to-child transmission; prophylaxis
18.  Emergence and Persistence of Minor Drug-Resistant HIV-1 Variants in Ugandan Women after Nevirapine Single-Dose Prophylaxis 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(5):e20357.
Nevirapine (NVP) single-dose is still a widely used antiretroviral prophylaxis for the prevention of vertical HIV-1 transmission in resource-limited settings. However, the main disadvantage of the Non-nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitor (NNRTI) NVP is the rapid selection of NVP-resistant virus with negative implications for subsequent NNRTI-based long-term antiretroviral therapy (ART). Here, we analysed the emergence of drug-resistant HIV-1 including minor variants in the early phase after NVP single-dose prophylaxis and the persistence of drug-resistant virus over time.
Methods and Findings
NVP-resistant HIV-1 harbouring the K103N and/or Y181C resistance mutations in the HIV-1 reverse transcriptase gene was measured from 1 week up to 18 months after NVP single-dose prophylaxis in 29 Ugandan women using allele-specific PCR assays capable of detecting drug-resistant variants representing less than 1% of the whole viral population. In total, drug-resistant HIV-1 was identified in 18/29 (62%) women; rates increased from 18% to 38% and 44% at week 1, 2, 6, respectively, and decreased to 18%, 25%, 13% and 4% at month 3, 6, 12 and 18, respectively. The proportion of NVP-resistant virus of the total viral population was significantly higher in women infected with subtype D (median 40.5%) as compared to subtype A (median 1.3%; p = 0.032, Mann-Whitney U test). 33% of resistant virus was not detectable at week 2 but was for the first time measurable 6–12 weeks after NVP single-dose prophylaxis. Three (10%) women harboured resistant virus in proportions >10% still at month 6.
Current WHO guidelines recommend an additional postnatal intake of AZT and 3TC for one week to avoid NVP resistance formation. Our findings indicate that a 1-week medication might be too short to impede the emergence of NVP resistance in a substantial proportion of women. Furthermore, subsequent NNRTI-based ART should not be started earlier than 12 months after NVP single-dose prophylaxis.
PMCID: PMC3105030  PMID: 21655245
19.  Development of Nevirapine Resistance in Children Exposed to the Prevention of Mother-to-Child HIV-1 Transmission Programme in Maputo, Mozambique 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(7):e0131994.
Single-dose nevirapine (sd-NVP) has been the main option for prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV-1 in low-resource settings. However, sd-NVP can induce the selection of HIV-1 resistant mutations in mothers and infants. In Mozambique, there are limited data regarding the profile of NVP resistance associated mutations (RAM) in the context of PMTCT.
To assess the prevalence and the factors associated with NVP RAM among children born to HIV-1 infected mothers enrolled in the PMTCT programme adopted in Mozambique.
One hundred and fifty seven children aged 6 to 48 weeks were sequentially included (July 2011 to March 2012) at four centres in Maputo. Genotyping of RAM was performed in samples with HIV-1 RNA≥ 100 copies/μL (Viroseq). Sequencing was performed with ABI 3100 (Applied Biosystems). Logistic regression modelling was undertaken to identify the factors associated with NVP RAM.
Seventy-nine children had their samples genotyped. Their median age was 7.0 (3–12) months and 92.4% received prophylaxis with sd-NVP at birth plus daily NVP. 35.4% of mothers received antiretrovirals (ARVs) for PMTCT. ARV RAM were detected in 43 (54.4%) of the children. 45.6% of these children had at least one NVP RAM. The most common mutations associated with NVP resistance were K103N (n = 16) and Y181C (n = 15). NVP RAM was significantly associated with mother exposure to PMTCT (crude odds ratio [OR] 30.3, 95% CI 4.93–186.34) and with mother’s CD4 count < 350 cells/mm3 (crude OR 3.08, 95% CI 1.02–9.32). In the multivariable analysis the mother’s exposure to PMTCT was the only variable significantly associated with NVP RAM (adjusted OR 48.65, 95% CI 9.33–253.66).
We found a high prevalence of NVP RAM among children who were exposed to the drug regimen for PMTCT in Mozambique. The mothers’ exposure to PMTCT significantly increased the risk of NVP RAM.
PMCID: PMC4498634  PMID: 26161559
20.  Frequent Emergence of N348I in HIV-1 Subtype C Reverse Transcriptase with Failure of Initial Therapy Reduces Susceptibility to Reverse-Transcriptase Inhibitors 
N348I emerges frequently with failure of first-line antiretroviral therapy (ART) in subtype C human immunodeficiency virus type 1 infection and affects susceptibility to nevirapine, efavirenz, etravirine, and zidovudine. This finding has implications for cross-resistance to subsequent ART regimens in resource-limited settings.
Background. It is not known how often mutations in the connection and ribonuclease H domains of reverse transcriptase (RT) emerge with failure of first-line antiretroviral therapy (ART) in subtype C human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection and how these mutations affect susceptibility to other antiretrovirals.
Methods. We compared full-length RT sequences in plasma obtained before therapy and at virologic failure of initial ART among 63 participants with subtype C HIV-1 infection enrolled in the Comprehensive International Program of Research on AIDS in South Africa (CIPRA-SA) study. Recombinant viruses containing full-length plasma-derived RT sequences from participants with N348I at virologic failure were assayed for drug susceptibility.
Results. Y181C and M184V mutations in the RT polymerase domain were associated with failure of stavudine-lamivudine-nevirapine (d4T/3TC/NVP; P < .01), and K103N, V106M, and M184V with failure of d4T/3TC/efavirenz (EFV; P < .01). N348I in the RT connection domain emerged in 45% (P = .002) and 12% (P = .06) of participants receiving failing regimens containing NVP or EFV, respectively. Longitudinal analyses revealed that nonnucleoside RT inhibitor resistance mutations in the polymerase domain generally appeared first. N348I emerged at the same time, or after, M184V. N348I in the context of polymerase domain mutations reduced susceptibility to NVP (8.9–13-fold), EFV (4–56-fold), etravirine (ETV; 1.9–4.7-fold) and decreased hypersusceptibility to zidovudine (AZT; 1.4–2.2-fold).
Conclusions. N348I emerges frequently with virologic failure of first-line ART in subtype C HIV-1 infection and reduces susceptibility to NVP, EFV, ETV, and AZT. Additional studies are warranted to characterize the effects of N348I on virologic response to second- and third-line regimens in resource-limited settings where subtype C predominates.
PMCID: PMC3491849  PMID: 22618567
21.  Effects of Short-Course Zidovudine on the Selection of Nevirapine-Resistant HIV-1 in Women Taking Single-Dose Nevirapine 
The Journal of Infectious Diseases  2012;205(12):1811-1815.
Single-dose nevirapine (sdNVP) given to prevent mother-to-child-transmission of HIV-1 selects NVP-resistance. Short-course zidovudine (ZDV) was hypothesized to lower rates of NVP-resistance. HIV-1 infected pregnant women administered sdNVP with or without short-course ZDV were assessed for HIV-1 mutations (K103N, Y181C, G190A, and V106M) prior to delivery and postpartum. Postpartum NVP-resistance was lower among 31 taking ZDV+sdNVP compared to 33 taking only sdNVP (35.5% vs 72.7%; χ2 P = .003). NVP mutants decayed to <2% in 24/35 (68.6%) at a median 6 months postpartum, with no differences based on ZDV use (logrank P = .99). Short-course ZDV was associated with reduced NVP-resistance mutations among women taking sdNVP.
PMCID: PMC3415891  PMID: 22492850
22.  Slower Clearance of Nevirapine Resistant Virus in Infants Failing Extended Nevirapine Prophylaxis for Prevention of Mother-to-Child HIV Transmission 
Nevirapine resistance mutations arise commonly following single or extended-dose nevirapine (ED-NVP) prophylaxis to prevent mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), but decay within 6–12 months of single-dose exposure. Use of ED-NVP prophylaxis in infants is expected to rise, but data on decay of nevirapine resistance mutations in infants in whom ED-NVP failed remain limited. We assessed, in Ethiopian infants participating in the Six-Week Extended Nevirapine (SWEN) Trial, the prevalence and persistence of nevirapine resistance mutations at 6 and 12 months following single-dose or up to 6 weeks of ED-NVP, and correlated their presence with the timing of infection and the type of resistance mutations. Standard population genotyping followed by high-throughput cloning were done on dried blood spot samples collected during the trial. More infants who received ED-NVP had nevirapine resistance detected by standard population genotyping (high frequencies) at age 6 months compared with those who received single-dose nevirapine (SD-NVP) (58% of 24 vs. 26% of 19, respectively; p = 0.06). Moreover, 56% of ED-NVP-exposed infants with nevirapine resistance at age 6 months still had nevirapine resistance mutations present at high frequencies at age 1 year. Infants infected before 6 weeks of age who received either SD- or ED-NVP were more likely to have Y181C or K103N; these mutations were also more likely to persist at high frequencies through 1 year of age. HIV-infected infants in whom ED-NVP prophylaxis fails are likely to experience delayed clearance of nevirapine-resistant virus in the first year of life, which in turn places them at risk for early selection of multidrug-resistant HIV after initial therapy with nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor-based regimens.
PMCID: PMC3149453  PMID: 21241214
23.  What Will It Take to Eliminate Pediatric HIV? Reaching WHO Target Rates of Mother-to-Child HIV Transmission in Zimbabwe: A Model-Based Analysis 
PLoS Medicine  2012;9(1):e1001156.
Using a simulation model, Andrea Ciaranello and colleagues find that the latest WHO PMTCT (prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV) guidelines plus better access to PMTCT programs, better retention of women in care, and better adherence to drugs are needed to eliminate pediatric HIV in Zimbabwe.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has called for the “virtual elimination” of pediatric HIV: a mother-to-child HIV transmission (MTCT) risk of less than 5%. We investigated uptake of prevention of MTCT (PMTCT) services, infant feeding recommendations, and specific drug regimens necessary to achieve this goal in Zimbabwe.
Methods and Findings
We used a computer model to simulate a cohort of HIV-infected, pregnant/breastfeeding women (mean age, 24 y; mean CD4, 451/µl; breastfeeding duration, 12 mo). Three PMTCT regimens were evaluated: (1) single-dose nevirapine (sdNVP), (2) WHO 2010 guidelines' “Option A” (zidovudine in pregnancy, infant nevirapine throughout breastfeeding for women without advanced disease, lifelong combination antiretroviral therapy for women with advanced disease), and (3) WHO “Option B” (pregnancy/breastfeeding-limited combination antiretroviral drug regimens without advanced disease; lifelong antiretroviral therapy with advanced disease). We examined four levels of PMTCT uptake (proportion of pregnant women accessing and adhering to PMTCT services): reported rates in 2008 and 2009 (36% and 56%, respectively) and target goals in 2008 and 2009 (80% and 95%, respectively). The primary model outcome was MTCT risk at weaning.
The 2008 sdNVP-based National PMTCT Program led to a projected 12-mo MTCT risk of 20.3%. Improved uptake in 2009 reduced projected risk to 18.0%. If sdNVP were replaced by more effective regimens, with 2009 (56%) uptake, estimated MTCT risk would be 14.4% (Option A) or 13.4% (Option B). Even with 95% uptake of Option A or B, projected transmission risks (6.1%–7.7%) would exceed the WHO goal of less than 5%. Only if the lowest published transmission risks were used for each drug regimen, or breastfeeding duration were shortened, would MTCT risks at 95% uptake fall below 5%.
Implementation of the WHO PMTCT guidelines must be accompanied by efforts to improve access to PMTCT services, retain women in care, and support medication adherence throughout pregnancy and breastfeeding, to approach the “virtual elimination” of pediatric HIV in Zimbabwe.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
A woman who is infected with HIV can pass the virus to her baby during pregnancy, labor and delivery, or breastfeeding—mother-to-child HIV transmission (MTCT). Without treatment, up to 30% of babies born to HIV-infected women will become infected with HIV during pregnancy or at delivery, and a further 5%–20% will become infected through breastfeeding. In 2009, around 400,000 children under 15 years of age became infected with HIV, mainly through MTCT—90% of these MTCT infections occurred in Africa.
In addition to preventing HIV infection among prospective parents and avoiding unwanted pregnancies among HIV-positive women, effective prevention of MTCT (PMTCT) requires preventing the transmission of HIV from infected mothers to their infants during pregnancy, labor, delivery, and breastfeeding.
In 2010, the World Health Organization (WHO) published new guidelines for PMTCT based on combination antiretroviral therapy for women with advanced HIV disease, and two options for countries to select for women with less advanced disease. Option A includes zidovudine (ZDV) during pregnancy and single-dose nevirapine (sdNVP) at delivery, followed by daily nevirapine syrup for infants throughout the duration of breastfeeding; Option B includes maternal triple-drug ARV regimens throughout pregnancy and breastfeeding. However, WHO estimates that only 53% of pregnant women worldwide received any antiretroviral medicines for PMTCT in 2009.
Why Was This Study Done?
As in many sub-Saharan African countries where prolonged breastfeeding is common, and necessary to improve child health, Zimbabwe is implementing the 2010 WHO guidelines with Option A. However, because of the challenges of enrolling and retaining women in PMTCT programs, the effectiveness of this strategy is unknown. Therefore in this study, the researchers used a model to calculate the level of PMTCT uptake in Zimbabwe, the PMTCT drug regimens, and the duration of breastfeeding that would be necessary to reach the WHO goal of an MTCT risk below 5%.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers used a validated computer simulation model developed for analyzing the cost-effectiveness of preventing AIDS complications to measure risk of infant HIV transmission at the time of weaning, the HIV infection risk at 4–6 weeks of age, infant survival at two years of age, and 2-year HIV-free survival. The researchers used four scenarios of PMTCT uptake and linked the models to two populations of pregnant and breastfeeding women (mean age, 24 years) in Zimbabwe, and then analyzed the combinations of the factors necessary to reach MTCT risks less than 5%.
At baseline, the researchers found that the 2008 National PMTCT Program in Zimbabwe led to a projected 12-month MTCT risk of 20.3%. The projected risk in 2009 was 18.0% because of improved uptake. The estimated MTCT risk with Option A at 56% uptake (2009 levels) was 14.4% and with Option B was 13.4%. However, even with greatly increased uptake, such as 95% levels, the researchers found that projected transmission risks would exceed the WHO goal of less than 5% MTCT, and that the MTCT risk would fall below 5% at the 95% uptake level only if the lowest transmission risks were used for each drug regimen, or if breastfeeding duration were shortened.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings show that the planned implementation of the 2010 WHO PMTCT guidelines with Option A in Zimbabwe could substantially reduce infant HIV infection risk compared to the 2009 national program with sdNVP. Furthermore, in order to reach a MTCT risk of less than 5%, a national program based on either Option A or Option B will also need to include strategies to improve access to PMTCT services (to almost 100% uptake), retain women in care, and support medication adherence throughout pregnancy and breastfeeding. These findings from a resource-limited country with high HIV prevalence and prolonged breastfeeding may be useful for other countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at
Avert gives some more information on MTCT and PMTCT.
The United Nations Children's Fund has factsheets on national PMTCT responses in the most affected countries.
WHO's strategic vision for PMTCT for 2010–2015 is also available.
PMCID: PMC3254654  PMID: 22253579
24.  Analysis of nevirapine (NVP) resistance in Ugandan infants who were HIV-infected despite receiving single dose (SD) nevirapine (NVP) vs. SD NVP plus daily NVP up to 6-weeks of age to prevent HIV vertical transmission 
The Journal of infectious diseases  2008;198(7):1075-1082.
Single dose (SD) nevirapine (NVP) at birth plus NVP to the infant up to 6 weeks of age is superior to SD NVP alone for prevention of HIV vertical transmission through breastfeeding. We analyzed NVP resistance in HIV-infected Ugandan infants who received either SD NVP or extended NVP prophylaxis.
We tested plasma HIV using a genotyping assay (ViroSeq), a phenotypic resistance assay (PhenoSense), and sensitive point mutation assay (LigAmp, for K103N, Y181C, G190A).
At 6 weeks, NVP resistance was detected by ViroSeq in a higher proportion of infants in the extended NVP arm than in the SD NVP arm (21/25=84% vs. 12/24=50%, p=0.01). Similar results were obtained with LigAmp and PhenoSense. Infants who were HIV-infected at birth had high rates of resistance in both study arms. In contrast, infants who were HIV-infected after birth were more likely to have resistance detected at 6 weeks in the extended NVP arm. Use of extended NVP prophylaxis was also associated with detection of NVP resistance by ViroSeq at 6 months (7/7=100% extended NVP arm vs. 1/6=16.7% SD NVP arm, p=0.005).
Use of extended NVP prophylaxis was associated with increased selection and persistence of NVP resistance in HIV-infected Ugandan infants.
PMCID: PMC2587235  PMID: 18684096
HIV-1; infant; mother-to-child transmission; nevirapine; resistance
25.  WHO 2010 Guidelines for Prevention of Mother-to-Child HIV Transmission in Zimbabwe: Modeling Clinical Outcomes in Infants and Mothers 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(6):e20224.
The Zimbabwean national prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission (PMTCT) program provided primarily single-dose nevirapine (sdNVP) from 2002–2009 and is currently replacing sdNVP with more effective antiretroviral (ARV) regimens.
Published HIV and PMTCT models, with local trial and programmatic data, were used to simulate a cohort of HIV-infected, pregnant/breastfeeding women in Zimbabwe (mean age 24.0 years, mean CD4 451 cells/µL). We compared five PMTCT regimens at a fixed level of PMTCT medication uptake: 1) no antenatal ARVs (comparator); 2) sdNVP; 3) WHO 2010 guidelines using “Option A” (zidovudine during pregnancy/infant NVP during breastfeeding for women without advanced HIV disease; lifelong 3-drug antiretroviral therapy (ART) for women with advanced disease); 4) WHO “Option B” (ART during pregnancy/breastfeeding without advanced disease; lifelong ART with advanced disease); and 5) “Option B+:” lifelong ART for all pregnant/breastfeeding, HIV-infected women. Pediatric (4–6 week and 18-month infection risk, 2-year survival) and maternal (2- and 5-year survival, life expectancy from delivery) outcomes were projected.
Eighteen-month pediatric infection risks ranged from 25.8% (no antenatal ARVs) to 10.9% (Options B/B+). Although maternal short-term outcomes (2- and 5-year survival) varied only slightly by regimen, maternal life expectancy was reduced after receipt of sdNVP (13.8 years) or Option B (13.9 years) compared to no antenatal ARVs (14.0 years), Option A (14.0 years), or Option B+ (14.5 years).
Replacement of sdNVP with currently recommended regimens for PMTCT (WHO Options A, B, or B+) is necessary to reduce infant HIV infection risk in Zimbabwe. The planned transition to Option A may also improve both pediatric and maternal outcomes.
PMCID: PMC3107213  PMID: 21655097

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