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1.  Analysis of HIV tropism in Ugandan infants 
Current HIV research  2010;8(7):498-503.
HIV-infected infants may have CXCR4-using (X4-tropic) HIV, CCR5-using (R5-tropic) HIV, or a mixture of R5-tropic and X4-tropic HIV (dual/mixed, DM HIV). The level of infectivity for R5 virus (R5-RLU) varies among HIV-infected infants. HIV tropism and R5-RLU were measured in samples from HIV-infected Ugandan infants using a commercial assay. DM HIV was detected in 7/72 (9.7%) infants at the time of HIV diagnosis (birth or 6–8 weeks of age, 4/15 (26.7%) with subtype D, 3/57 (5.3 %) with other subtypes, P=0.013). A transition from R5-tropic to DM HIV was observed in only two (6.7%) of 30 infants over 6–12 months. Six (85.7%) of seven infants with DM HIV died, compared to 21/67 (31.3%) infants with R5-tropic HIV (p=0.09). Higher R5-RLU at 6–8 weeks was not associated with decreased survival. Infants with in utero infection had a higher median R5-RLU than infants who were HIV-uninfected at birth (p=0.025).
PMCID: PMC3075545  PMID: 21073438
CCR5; CXCR4; HIV-1; infant; survival; transmission; tropism
2.  Nevirapine resistance in women and infants after first versus repeated use of single dose nevirapine for prevention of HIV-1 vertical transmission 
The Journal of infectious diseases  2008;198(4):465-469.
Single dose (SD) nevirapine (NVP) significantly reduces HIV mother-to-child transmission. We analyzed NVP resistance after SD NVP in 57 previously SD NVP-naїve women, 34 SD NVP-experienced women, and 17 HIV-infected infants. The proportion of women with resistance, the types of mutations detected, and the frequency and level of K103N were similar in the two groups of women at 6 weeks and 6 months post-partum. NVP resistance was detected in a similar proportion of infants born to SD NVP-naїve versus SD NVP-experienced women. Repeated use of SD NVP to prevent HIV transmission does not appear to influence NVP resistance.
PMCID: PMC2640946  PMID: 18582198
3.  Further Evidence that Exclusive Breast-Feeding Reduces Mother-to-Child HIV Transmission Compared With Mixed Feeding 
PLoS Medicine  2008;5(3):e63.
The author discusses the results of the Zambia Exclusive Breastfeeding Study, recently published inPLoS ONE.
PMCID: PMC2265760  PMID: 18336065
4.  Pharmacokinetics and Safety of Tenofovir in HIV-infected Women during Labor and their Infants During the First Week of Life 
Data describing the pharmacokinetics and safety of tenofovir in neonates are lacking.
HPTN 057 was a phase 1, open label study of the pharmacokinetics and safety of tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF) in HIV infected women during labor and their infants during the first week of life with 4 dosing cohorts: maternal 600 mg doses/no infant dosing; no maternal dosing/infant 4 mg/kg doses day 0, 3 and 5; maternal 900 mg doses/infant 6 mg/kg doses day 0, 3 and 5; maternal 600 mg doses/infant 6 mg/kg doses daily ×7 doses. Pharmacokinetic sampling was performed on cohort 1 and 3 mothers and all infants. Plasma, amniotic fluid and breast milk tenofovir concentrations were determined by liquid chromatographic – tandem mass spectrometric assay. The pharmacokinetic target was for infant tenofovir concentration throughout the first week of life to exceed 50 ng/mL, the median trough tenofovir concentration in adults receiving standard chronic TDF dosing.
122 mother-infant pairs from Malawi and Brazil were studied. Tenofovir exposure in mothers receiving 600 mg and 900 mg exceeded that in non-pregnant adults receiving standard 300 mg doses. Tenofovir elimination in the infants was equivalent to that in older children and adults and trough tenofovir plasma concentrations exceeded 50 ng/mL in 74–97% of infants receiving daily dosing.
A TDF dosing regimen of 600 mg during labor and daily infant doses of 6 mg/kg maintains infant tenofovir plasma concentration above 50 ng/mL throughout the first week of life and should be used in studies of TDF efficacy for HIV PMTCT and early infant treatment.
PMCID: PMC3912736  PMID: 23979002
tenofovir; neonate; pharmacokinetics
5.  Progress in Preventing Perinatal HIV Transmission in the United States1 
PMCID: PMC3329008
HIV; perinatal transmission; conference summary
6.  Long Term Follow-up of Children in the HIVNET 012 Perinatal HIV Prevention Trial: Five-Year Growth and Survival 
To describe five year growth, survival and long-term safety among children exposed to nevirapine or zidovudine in an African perinatal prevention trial, HIVNET 012.
All study children who were alive at eighteen months of age were eligible for an extended follow-up study. Children whose families consented were enrolled and evaluated every six months from 24 to 60 months. At each visit, history, physical exam and growth measures were taken. From these measurements Z scores based on World Health Organization (WHO) standards were computed. Serious adverse event data were collected. Data from the initial and extended follow-up cohorts were included in the analysis.
528 study children were alive at age 18 months, and 491 (426 HIV uninfected; 65 infected) were enrolled into the follow-up study. Both exposed but uninfected children and HIV infected children were substantially below WHO growth standards for weight and height. Head circumference Z scores for uninfected children were comparable to WHO norms. Five-year survival rates were 93% for uninfected children versus 43% for infected children. Long-term safety and growth outcomes in the two study arms were similar.
Both infected and uninfected children in the five-year HIVNET 012 follow-up showed poor height and weight growth outcomes, underscoring the need for early nutritional interventions to improve long-term growth of all infants born to HIV-infected women in resource limited settings. Likewise, the low five year survival among HIV infected children support the importance of early initiation of antiretroviral therapy. Both peripartum nevirapine and zidovudine were safe.
PMCID: PMC4172334  PMID: 24121753
7.  Feasibility and Safety of ALVAC-HIV vCP1521 Vaccine in HIV- exposed Infants in Uganda: Results from the First HIV Vaccine Trial in Infants in Africa 
The development of a safe and effective vaccine against human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) for prevention mother-to-child transmission of HIV would significantly advance the goal of eliminating HIV infection in children. Safety and feasibility results from Phase I, randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled trial of ALVAC-HIV vCP1521 in infants born to HIV-1-infected women in Uganda are reported.
HIV exposed infants were enrolled at birth and randomized (4:1) to receive vaccine or saline placebo intramuscular injections at birth, 4, 8 and 12 weeks of age. Vaccine reactogenicity was assessed at vaccination, and days 1 and 2 post-vaccination. Infants were followed until 24 months of age. HIV infection status was determined by HIV DNA PCR.
From October 2006 to May 2007, 60 infants (48 vaccine, 12 placebo) were enrolled with 98% retention at 24 months. One infant was withdrawn, but there were no missed visits or vaccinations among the 59 infants retained. Immune responses elicited by Diptheria, Polio, Hepatitis B and Heamophilus influenzae type B and measles vaccination were similar in the two arms. The vaccine was well tolerated with no severe or life-threatening reactogenicity events. Adverse events were equally distributed across both study arms. Four infants were diagnosed as HIV infected [3 at birth (2 vaccine, 1 placebo) and one in vaccine arm at 2 weeks of age].
The ALVAC-HIV vCP1521 vaccination was feasible and safe in infants born to HIV-infected women in Uganda. The conduct of high quality infant HIV vaccine trials is achievable in Africa.
PMCID: PMC3625520  PMID: 23221981
HIV vaccine; ALVAC; infants; Africa; breast milk transmission
8.  Stavudine (d4T) concentrations in women receiving post-partum antiretroviral treatment and their breastfeeding infants 
First-line antiretroviral treatment regimens in resource-limited settings used in breastfeeding mothers often include stavudine (d4T). Limited data describing d4T concentrations in breast milk are available. We analyzed d4T concentrations in 52 mother-infant pairs using ultra-performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (lower limit of quantification: 5 ng/ml in plasma, 20 ng/ml in breast milk). Median (interquartile range) d4T concentrations were 86 (36–191) ng/ml in maternal plasma, 151 (48–259) ng/ml in whole milk, 190 (58–296) ng/ml in skim milk, and <5 (<5-<5) ng/ml in infant plasma. While d4T is concentrated in breast milk relative to maternal plasma, the infant d4T dose received from breast milk is very small and not clinically significant.
PMCID: PMC3404155  PMID: 22614899
stavudine concentrations; breast milk; mother-to-child transmission; HIV
9.  Antibody Maturation and Viral Diversification in HIV-Infected Women 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e57350.
The Post-exposure Prophylaxis in Infants (PEPI)-Malawi trial evaluated infant antiretroviral regimens for prevention of post-natal HIV transmission. A multi-assay algorithm (MAA) that includes the BED capture immunoassay, an avidity assay, CD4 cell count, and viral load was used to identify women who were vs. were not recently infected at the time of enrollment (MAA recent, N = 73; MAA non-recent, N = 2,488); a subset of the women in the MAA non-recent group known to have been HIV infected for at least 2 years before enrollment (known non-recent, N = 54). Antibody maturation and viral diversification were examined in these women.
Samples collected at enrollment (N = 2,561) and 12–24 months later (N = 1,306) were available for serologic analysis using the BED and avidity assays. A subset of those samples was used for analysis of viral diversity, which was performed using a high resolution melting (HRM) diversity assay. Viral diversity analysis was performed using all available samples from women in the MAA recent group (61 enrollment samples, 38 follow-up samples) and the known non-recent group (43 enrollment samples, 22 follow-up samples). Diversity data from PEPI-Malawi were also compared to similar data from 169 adults in the United States (US) with known recent infection (N = 102) and known non-recent infection (N = 67).
In PEPI-Malawi, results from the BED and avidity assays increased over time in the MAA recent group, but did not change significantly in the MAA non-recent group. At enrollment, HIV diversity was lower in the MAA recent group than in the known non-recent group. HRM diversity assay results from women in PEPI-Malawi were similar to those from adults in the US with known duration of HIV infection.
Antibody maturation and HIV diversification patterns in African women provide additional support for use of the MAA to identify populations with recent HIV infection.
PMCID: PMC3583828  PMID: 23460842
10.  Distribution of haematological and chemical pathology values among infants in Malawi and Uganda 
Data on paediatric reference laboratory values are limited for sub-Saharan Africa.
To describe the distribution of haematological and chemical pathology values among healthy infants from Malawi and Uganda.
A cross-sectional study was conducted among healthy infants, 0–6 months old, born to HIV-uninfected mothers recruited from two settings in Blantyre, Malawi and Kampala, Uganda. Chemical pathology and haematology parameters were determined using standard methods on blood samples. Descriptive analyses by age-group were performed based on 2004 Division of AIDS Toxicity Table age categories. Mean values and interquartile ranges were compared by site and age-group.
A total of 541 infants were included altogether, 294 from Malawi and 247 from Uganda. Overall, the mean laboratory values were comparable between the two sites. Mean alkaline phosphatase levels were lower among infants aged ≤21 days while aspartate aminotransferase, creatinine, total bilirubin and gamma-glutamyl transferase were higher in those aged 0–7 days than in older infants. Mean haematocrit, haemoglobin and neutrophil counts were higher in the younger age-groups (<35 days) and overall were lower than US norms. Red and white blood cell counts tended to decrease after birth but increased after ~2 months of age. Mean basophil counts were higher in Malawi than in Uganda in infants aged 0–1 and 2–7 days; mean counts for eosinophils (for age groups 8–21 or older) and platelets (for all age groups) were higher in Ugandan than in Malawian infants. Absolute lymphocyte counts increased with infant age.
The chemical pathology and haematological values in healthy infants born to HIV-uninfected mothers were comparable in Malawi and Uganda and can serve as useful reference values in these settings.
PMCID: PMC3571100  PMID: 23164296
Chemical pathology; Haematology; Infant; Malawi; Reference laboratory value; Uganda
11.  Efficacy and safety of an extended nevirapine regimen in infant children of breastfeeding mothers with HIV-1 infection for prevention of postnatal HIV-1 transmission (HPTN 046): a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial 
Lancet  2011;379(9812):221-228.
Nevirapine given once-daily for the first 6, 14, or 28 weeks of life to infants exposed to HIV-1via breastfeeding reduces transmission through this route compared with single-dose nevirapine at birth or neonatally. We aimed to assess incremental safety and efficacy of extension of such prophylaxis to 6 months.
In our phase 3, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled HPTN 046 trial, we assessed the incremental benefit of extension of once-daily infant nevirapine from age 6 weeks to 6 months. We enrolled breastfeeding infants born to mothers with HIV-1 in four African countries within 7 days of birth. Following receipt of nevirapine from birth to 6 weeks, infants without HIV infection were randomly allocated (by use of a computer-generated permuted block algorithm with random block sizes and stratified by site and maternal antiretroviral treatment status) to receive extended nevirapine prophylaxis or placebo until 6 months or until breastfeeding cessation, whichever came first. The primaryefficacy endpoint was HIV-1 infection in infants at 6 months and safety endpoints were adverse reactions in both groups. We used Kaplan-Meier analyses to compare differences in the primary outcome between groups. This study is registered with, number NCT00074412.
Between June 19, 2008, and March 12, 2010, we randomly allocated 1527 infants (762 nevirapine and 765 placebo); five of whom had HIV-1 infection at randomisation and were excluded from the primary analyses. In Kaplan-Meier analysis, 1.1% (95% CI 0.3–1.8) of infants who received extended nevirapine developed HIV-1 between 6 weeks and 6 months compared with 2.4% (1.3–3.6) of controls (difference 1.3%, 95% CI 0–2.6), equating to a 54% reduction in transmission (p=0.049). However, mortality (1.2% for nevirapine vs 1.1% for placebo; p=0.81) and combined HIV infection and mortality rates (2.3% vs 3.2%; p=0.27) did not differ between groups at 6 months. 125 (16%) of 758 infants given extended nevirapine and 116 (15%) of 761 controls had serious adverse events, but frequency of adverse events, serious adverse events, and deaths did not differ significantly between treatment groups.
Nevirapine prophylaxis can safely be used to provide protection from mother-to-child transmission of HIV-1 via breastfeeding for infants up to 6 months of age.
US National Institutes of Health.
PMCID: PMC3539769  PMID: 22196945
12.  Safety and Efficacy of HIV Hyperimmune Globulin (HIVIGLOB) for Prevention of Mother-to-Child HIV Transmission in HIV-1 infected Pregnant Women and their Infants in Kampala, Uganda (HIVIGLOB/NVP STUDY) 
This phase III randomized clinical trial compared single dose nevirapine (sdNVP) plus HIV immunoglobulin (HIVIGLOB) to sdNVP alone for preventing maternal-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV.
Primary objectives were to determine rates of HIV infection among infants, and to assess the safety of HIVIGLOB in combination with sdNVP in HIV-infected Ugandan pregnant women and their infants.
Mother-infant pairs were randomized to receive 200mg of NVP to women in labor and 2mg/kg NVP to newborns within 72 hours after birth (sdNVP arm) or to receive sdNVP plus a single intravenous 240ml dose of HIVIGLOB given to women at 36-38 weeks gestation and a single intravenous 24ml dose to newborns within 18 hours of birth (HIVIGLOB/sdNVP arm). Risk of HIV infection was determined using Kaplan-Meier and risk ratio estimates at birth, 2, 6, 14 weeks, 6 and 12 months of age.
Intent-to-treat analysis included 198 HIVIGLOB/sdNVP and 294 sdNVP mother-infant pairs. At 6 months of age, the primary endpoint, there was no statistically significant difference in HIV transmission in the HIVIGLOB/sdNVP arm versus the sdNVP arm (18.7% vs.15.0%; RR =1.240 [95% CI: 0.833-1.846]; p= 0.290). Similarly, the proportion of serious adverse events in the HIVIGLOB/sdNVP and sdNVP arms, respectively for mothers (18.9% vs. 19.3%; p= 0.91) and infants (62.6% vs. 59.5%; p=0.51), were not significantly different.
Giving mother-infant pairs an infusion of peripartum HIV hyperimmunoglobulin in addition to sdNVP for PMTCT was as safe as sdNVP alone, but was no more effective than sdNVP alone in preventing HIV transmission.
PMCID: PMC3204156  PMID: 21826009
HIV; HIVIGLOB; sdNVP; breastfeeding; PMTCT; Uganda
13.  Effects of Cessation of Breastfeeding in HIV-1–Exposed, Uninfected Children in Malawi 
HIV-exposed, uninfected infants who do not breastfeed compared to those who breastfeed between 6 and 15 months experience substantially higher acute morbidity and cumulative mortality. Adequate monitoring of infant health and prolonged breastfeeding should be encouraged.
Background. We assessed morbidity rates during short intervals that accompanied weaning and cumulative mortality among HIV-exposed, uninfected infants enrolled in the postexposure prophylaxis of infants in Malawi (PEPI-Malawi) trial.
Methods. Women were counseled to stop breastfeeding (BF) by 6 months in the PEPI-Malawi trial. HIV-uninfected infants were included in this analysis starting at age 6 months. Breastfeeding and morbidity (illness and/or hospital admission and malnutrition [weight-for-age Z-score, ≤2]) were assessed during age intervals of 6–9, 9–12, and 12–15 months. BF was defined as any BF at the start and end of the interval and no breastfeeding (NBF) was defined as NBF at any time during the interval. The association of NBF with morbidity at each mutually exclusive interval was assessed using Poisson regression models controlling for other factors. Cumulative mortality among infants aged 6–15 months with BF and NBF was assessed using an extended Kaplan–Meier method.
Results. At age 6 months, 1761 HIV-uninfected infants were included in the study. The adjusted rate ratios for illnesses and/or hospital admission for NBF, compared with BF, was 1.7 (P < .0001) at 6–9 months, 1.66 (P = .0001) at 9–12 months, and 1.75 (P = .0008) at 12–15 months. The rates of morbidity were consistently higher among NBF infants during each age interval, compared with BF infants. The 15 months cumulative mortality among BF and NBF children was 3.5% and 6.4% (P = .03), respectively.
Conclusions. Cessation of BF is associated with acute morbidity events and cumulative mortality. Prolonged BF should be encouraged, in addition to close monitoring of infant health and provision of support services.
PMCID: PMC3202326  PMID: 21810754
14.  Association of recent HIV infection and in utero HIV-1 transmission: Findings from the PEPI-Malawi trial 
AIDS (London, England)  2011;25(11):1357-1364.
We previously developed a multi-assay algorithm (MAA) to identify recent HIV infection that includes the BED-Capture Enzyme Immunoassay, an avidity assay based on the Genetic Systems HIV-1/HIV-2+O Enzyme Immunoassay, CD4 cell count, and HIV viral load. We used this MAA to evaluate the association between recent maternal HIV infection and in utero transmission of HIV.
Plasma samples were collected at delivery from 2,561 HIV-infected women in the PEPI-Malawi trial. The MAA described above was used to identify women with recent HIV infection. Logistic regression models assessed association between recent HIV infection and in utero HIV transmission (defined as a positive infant HIV DNA test at birth).
Seventy-three women were identified as recently infected using the MAA. Those women were younger and had lower parity than women who were identified as not recently infected using the MAA (P<0.0001 for age and parity). The frequency of in utero HIV transmission was 17.8% among women identified as recently infected, compared to 6.7% among women identified as not recently infected (13/73 vs. 166/2488, P=0.001). In a multivariate model, three factors were independently associated with in utero HIV transmission: recent infection (adjusted odds ratio [AOR]: 2.49, 95% CI: 1.30–4.78, P=0.006), log10 HIV viral load at delivery (AOR: 2.01, 95% CI: 1.60–2.51, P<0.0001), and younger age (per 10 year increase, AOR: 0.66, 95% CI: 0.43–0.93, P=0.02).
Results obtained using a MAA suggest that recent maternal HIV acquisition is strongly associated with in utero HIV transmission, independent of HIV viral load at delivery.
PMCID: PMC3263827  PMID: 21572305
HIV; incidence; multiassay algorithm; mother-to-child transmission; Malawi
15.  Initiation of Antiretroviral Treatment in Women After Delivery Can Induce Multiclass Drug Resistance in Breastfeeding HIV-Infected Infants 
HIV-infected breastfeeding infants acquired multi-class drug resistance (MCR) after their mothers started highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). MCR was more frequent in infants whose mothers started HAART by 6 months post-partum or were exclusively breastfeeding when they reported HAART use.
Background. The World Health Organization currently recommends initiation of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)–infected lactating women with CD4+ cell counts <350 cells/μL or stage 3 or 4 disease. We analyzed antiretroviral drug resistance in HIV-infected infants in the Post Exposure Prophylaxis of Infants trial whose mothers initiated HAART postpartum (with a regimen of nevirapine [NVP], stavudine, and lamivudine). Infants in the trial received single-dose NVP and a week of zidovudine (ZDV) at birth; some infants also received extended daily NVP prophylaxis, with or without extended ZDV prophylaxis.
Methods. We analyzed drug resistance in plasma samples collected from all HIV-infected infants whose mothers started HAART in the first postpartum year. Resistance testing was performed using the first plasma sample collected within 6 months after maternal HAART initiation. Categorical variables were compared by exact or trend tests; continuous variables were compared using rank-sum tests.
Results. Multiclass resistance (MCR) was detected in HIV from 11 (29.7%) of 37 infants. Infants were more likely to develop MCR infection if their mothers initiated HAART earlier in the postpartum period (by 14 weeks vs after 14 weeks and up to 6 months vs after 6 months, P = .0009), or if the mother was exclusively breastfeeding at the time of HAART initiation (exclusive breastfeeding vs mixed feeding vs no breastfeeding, P = .003).
Conclusions. postpartum maternal HAART initiation was associated with acquisition of MCR in HIV-infected breastfeeding infants. The risk was higher among infants whose mothers initiated HAART closer to the time of delivery or were still exclusively breastfeeding when they first reported HAART use.
PMCID: PMC3070029  PMID: 21460326
16.  Emergence and persistence of nevirapine (NVP) resistance in breast milk after single-dose NVP administration 
AIDS (London, England)  2010;24(4):557-561.
Single-dose nevirapine (sdNVP) can reduce the risk of HIV vertical transmission. We assessed risk factors for NVP resistance in plasma and breast milk from sdNVP-exposed Ugandan women.
Samples were analyzed using the Roche AMPLICOR HIV-1 Monitor Test Kit, v1.5, and the ViroSeq HIV-1 Genotyping System. NVP concentrations were determined by liquid chromatography with tandem mass spectroscopy.
HIV genotypes (plasma and breast milk) were obtained for 30 women 4 weeks after sdNVP (HIV subtypes: 15A, 1C, 12D, 2 recombinant). NVP resistance was detected in 12 (40%) of 30 breast milk samples. There was a non-significant trend between detection of NVP resistance in breast milk and plasma (p=0.06). There was no association of HIV resistance in breast milk with median maternal pre-NVP viral load or CD4 cell count, median breast milk viral load at 4 weeks, breast milk sodium >10 mmol/L, HIV subtype, or concentration of NVP in breast milk or plasma.
NVP resistance was frequently detected in breast milk 4 weeks after sdNVP exposure. In this study, we were unable to identify specific factors associated with breast milk NVP resistance.
PMCID: PMC3065236  PMID: 20057308
nevirapine; HIV-1; breast milk; Uganda; vertical transmission; nevirapine resistance
17.  Triple-Antiretroviral Prophylaxis to Prevent Mother-To-Child HIV Transmission through Breastfeeding—The Kisumu Breastfeeding Study, Kenya: A Clinical Trial 
PLoS Medicine  2011;8(3):e1001015.
Timothy Thomas and colleagues report the results of the Kisumu breastfeeding study (Kenya), a single-arm trial that assessed the feasibility and safety of a triple-antiretroviral regimen to suppress maternal HIV load in late pregnancy.
Effective strategies are needed for the prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission (PMTCT) in resource-limited settings. The Kisumu Breastfeeding Study was a single-arm open label trial conducted between July 2003 and February 2009. The overall aim was to investigate whether a maternal triple-antiretroviral regimen that was designed to maximally suppress viral load in late pregnancy and the first 6 mo of lactation was a safe, well-tolerated, and effective PMTCT intervention.
Methods and Findings
HIV-infected pregnant women took zidovudine, lamivudine, and either nevirapine or nelfinavir from 34–36 weeks' gestation to 6 mo post partum. Infants received single-dose nevirapine at birth. Women were advised to breastfeed exclusively and wean rapidly just before 6 mo. Using Kaplan-Meier methods we estimated HIV-transmission and death rates from delivery to 24 mo. We compared HIV-transmission rates among subgroups defined by maternal risk factors, including baseline CD4 cell count and viral load.
Among 487 live-born, singleton, or first-born infants, cumulative HIV-transmission rates at birth, 6 weeks, and 6, 12, and 24 mo were 2.5%, 4.2%, 5.0%, 5.7%, and 7.0%, respectively. The 24-mo HIV-transmission rates stratified by baseline maternal CD4 cell count <500 and ≥500 cells/mm3 were 8.4% (95% confidence interval [CI] 5.8%–12.0%) and 4.1% (1.8%–8.8%), respectively (p = 0.06); the corresponding rates stratified by baseline maternal viral load <10,000 and ≥10,000 copies/ml were 3.0% (1.1%–7.8%) and 8.7% (6.1%–12.3%), respectively (p = 0.01). None of the 12 maternal and 51 infant deaths (including two second-born infants) were attributed to antiretrovirals. The cumulative HIV-transmission or death rate at 24 mo was 15.7% (95% CI 12.7%–19.4%).
This trial shows that a maternal triple-antiretroviral regimen from late pregnancy through 6 months of breastfeeding for PMTCT is safe and feasible in a resource-limited setting. These findings are consistent with those from other trials using maternal triple-antiretroviral regimens during breastfeeding in comparable settings.
Trial registration NCT00146380
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Every year, about half a million children become infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Nearly all these newly infected children live in resource-limited countries and most acquire HIV from their mother, so-called mother-to-child transmission (MTCT). Without intervention, 25%–50% of babies born to HIV-positive mothers become infected with HIV during pregnancy, delivery, or breastfeeding. This infection rate can be reduced by treating mother and child with antiretroviral (ARV) 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 her baby soon after birth nearly halves the risk of MTCT. Further reductions in risk can be achieved by giving mother and baby three ARVs—an NNRTI and two nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs such as zidovudine and lamivudine)—during pregnancy and perinatally (around the time of birth).
Why Was This Study Done?
Breastfeeding is crucial for child survival in poor countries but it is also responsible for up to half of MTCT. Consequently, many researchers are investigating how various ARV regimens given to mothers and/or their infants during the first few months of life as well as during pregnancy and perinatally affect MTCT. In this single-arm trial, the researchers assess the feasibility and safety of using a triple-ARV regimen to suppress the maternal HIV load (amount of virus in the blood) from late pregnancy though 6 months of breastfeeding among HIV-positive women in Kisumu, Kenya, and ask whether this approach achieves a lower HIV transmission rate than other ARV regimens that have been tested in resource-limited settings. In a single-arm trial, all the participants are given the same treatment. By contrast, in a “randomized controlled” trial, half the participants chosen at random are given the treatment under investigation and the rest are given a control treatment. A randomized controlled trial provides a better comparison of treatments than a single-arm trial but is more costly.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
In the Kisumu Breastfeeding Study (KiBS), HIV-infected pregnant women took a triple-ARV regimen containing zidovudine and lamivudine and either nevirapine or the protease inhibitor nelfinavir from 34–36 weeks of pregnancy to 6 months after delivery. They were advised to breastfeed their babies (who received single-dose nevirapine at birth), and to wean them rapidly just before 6 months. The researchers then used Kaplan-Meier statistical methods to estimate HIV transmission and death rates among 487 live-born infants from delivery to 24 months. The cumulative HIV transmission rate rose from 2.5% at birth to 7.0% at 24 months. The cumulative HIV transmission or death rate at 24 months was 15.7%; no infant deaths were attributed to ARVs. At 24 months, 3.0% of babies born to mothers with a low viral load were HIV positive compared to 8.7% of babies born to mothers with a high viral load, a statistically significant difference. Similarly, at 24 months, 8.4% of babies born to mothers with low baseline CD4 cell counts (CD4 cells are immune system cells that are killed by HIV; CD4 cell counts indicate the level of HIV-inflicted immune system damage) were HIV positive compared to 4.1% of babies born to mothers with high baseline CD4 cell counts, although this difference did not achieve statistical significance.
What Do These Findings Mean?
Although these findings are limited by the single-arm design, they support the idea that giving breastfeeding women a triple-ARV regimen from late pregnancy to 6 months is a safe, feasible way to reduce MTCT in resource-limited settings. The HIV transmission rates in this study are comparable to those recorded in similar trials in other resource-limited settings and are lower than MTCT rates observed previously in Kisumu in a study in which no ARVs were used. Importantly, the KiBS mothers took most of the ARVs they were prescribed and most stopped breastfeeding by 6 months as advised. The intense follow-up employed in KiBS may be partly responsible for this good adherence to the trial protocol and thus this study's findings may not be generalizable to all resource-limited settings. Nevertheless, they suggest that a simple triple-ARV regimen given to HIV-positive pregnant women regardless of their baseline CD4 cell count can reduce MTCT during pregnancy and breastfeeding in resource-limited setting.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
The accompanying PLoS Medicine Research article by Zeh and colleagues describes the emergence of resistance to ARVs in KiBS
Information on HIV and AIDS is available from the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
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 (in several languages)
PMCID: PMC3066129  PMID: 21468300
18.  HIV-1 Drug Resistance Emergence among Breastfeeding Infants Born to HIV-Infected Mothers during a Single-Arm Trial of Triple-Antiretroviral Prophylaxis for Prevention of Mother-To-Child Transmission: A Secondary Analysis 
PLoS Medicine  2011;8(3):e1000430.
Analysis of a substudy of the Kisumu breastfeeding trial by Clement Zeh and colleagues reveals the emergence of HIV drug resistance in HIV-positive infants born to HIV-infected mothers treated with antiretroviral drugs.
Nevirapine and lamivudine given to mothers are transmitted to infants via breastfeeding in quantities sufficient to have biologic effects on the virus; this may lead to an increased risk of a breastfed infant's development of resistance to maternal antiretrovirals. The Kisumu Breastfeeding Study (KiBS), a single-arm open-label prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission (PMTCT) trial, assessed the safety and efficacy of zidovudine, lamivudine, and either nevirapine or nelfinavir given to HIV-infected women from 34 wk gestation through 6 mo of breastfeeding. Here, we present findings from a KiBS trial secondary analysis that evaluated the emergence of maternal ARV-associated resistance among 32 HIV-infected breastfed infants.
Methods and Findings
All infants in the cohort were tested for HIV infection using DNA PCR at multiple study visits during the 24 mo of the study, and plasma RNA viral load for all HIV-PCR–positive infants was evaluated retrospectively. Specimens from mothers and infants with viral load >1,000 copies/ml were tested for HIV drug resistance mutations. Overall, 32 infants were HIV infected by 24 mo of age, and of this group, 24 (75%) infants were HIV infected by 6 mo of age. Of the 24 infants infected by 6 mo, nine were born to mothers on a nelfinavir-based regimen, whereas the remaining 15 were born to mothers on a nevirapine-based regimen. All infants were also given single-dose nevirapine within 48 hours of birth. We detected genotypic resistance mutations in none of eight infants who were HIV-PCR positive by 2 wk of age (specimens from six infants were not amplifiable), for 30% (6/20) at 6 wk, 63% (14/22) positive at 14 wk, and 67% (16/24) at 6 mo post partum. Among the 16 infants with resistance mutations by 6 mo post partum, the common mutations were M184V and K103N, conferring resistance to lamivudine and nevirapine, respectively. Genotypic resistance was detected among 9/9 (100%) and 7/15 (47%) infected infants whose mothers were on nelfinavir and nevirapine, respectively. No mutations were detected among the eight infants infected after the breastfeeding period (age 6 mo).
Emergence of HIV drug resistance mutations in HIV-infected infants occurred between 2 wk and 6 mo post partum, most likely because of exposure to maternal ARV drugs through breast milk. Our findings may impact the choice of regimen for ARV treatment of HIV-infected breastfeeding mothers and their infected infants.
Trial Registration NCT00146380
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Globally, more than 2 million children are infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), and half a million children are newly infected every year. These infections are mainly the result of mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of HIV during pregnancy, labor and delivery, or through breastfeeding. MTCT can be greatly reduced by treating HIV-positive mothers and their babies with antiretroviral drugs (ARVs). Without ARVs, up to half of babies born to HIV-positive mothers become infected with HIV. This rate of transmission falls to below 5% if a combination of three ARVs is given to the mother throughout pregnancy. Unfortunately, this triple-ARV therapy is too expensive for use in the resource-limited countries where most MTCT occurs. Instead, many such countries have introduced simpler, shorter ARV regimens such as a daily dose of zidovudine (a nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor or NRTI) given to HIV-positive women during late pregnancy coupled with single-dose nevirapine (a non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor or NNRTI) at the onset of labor, zidovudine and lamivudine (another NRTI) during labor and delivery, and single-dose nevirapine given to the baby at birth.
Why Was This Study Done?
More than 95% of HIV-exposed children are born in resource-limited settings where breastfeeding is the norm and is crucial for child survival even though it poses a risk of HIV transmission. Consequently, several recent studies have investigated whether MTCT can be further reduced by giving the mother ARVs while she is breastfeeding. In the Kisumu Breastfeeding Study (KiBS), for example, researchers assessed the effects of giving zidovudine, lamivudine, and either nevirapine or nelfinavir (a protease inhibitor) to HIV-infected women from 34 weeks of pregnancy through 6 months of breastfeeding. The results of KiBS indicate that this approach might be a safe, feasible way to reduce MTCT (see the accompanying paper by Thomas and colleagues). However, low amounts of nevirapine and lamivudine are transferred from mother to infant in breast milk and this exposure to ARVs could induce the development of resistance to ARVs among HIV-infected infants. In this KiBS substudy, the researchers investigate whether HIV drug resistance emerged in any of the HIV-positive infants in the parent study.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
In KiBS, 32 infants were HIV-positive at 24 months old; 24 were HIV-positive at 6 months old when their mothers stopped taking ARVs and when breastfeeding was supposed to stop. The researchers analyzed blood samples taken from these infants at various ages and from their mothers for the presence of HIV drug resistance mutations (DNA changes that make HIV resistant to killing by ARVs). They detected no resistance mutations in samples taken from 2-week old HIV-positive infants or from the infants who became infected after the age of 6 months. However, they found resistance mutations in a third and two-thirds of samples taken from 6-week and 6-month old HIV-positive infants, respectively. The commonest mutations conferred resistance to lamivudine and nevirapine. Moreover, resistance mutations were present in samples taken from all the HIV-positive infants whose mothers who had received nelfinavir but in only half those taken from infants whose mothers who had received nevirapine. Finally, most of the mothers of HIV-positive infants had no HIV drug resistance mutations, and only one mother-infant pair had an overlapping pattern of HIV drug resistance mutations.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate that, in this KiBS substudy, the emergence of HIV drug resistance mutations in HIV-infected infants whose mothers were receiving ARVs occurred between 2 weeks and 6 months after birth. The pattern of mutations suggests that drug resistance most likely arose through exposure of the infants to low levels of ARVs in breast milk rather than through MTCT of drug-resistant virus. These findings need confirming but suggest that infants exposed to ARVs through breast milk—a situation that may become increasingly common given the reduction in MTCT seen in KiBS and other similar trials—should be carefully monitored for HIV infection. Providers should consider the mothers' regimen when choosing treatment for infants who are found to be HIV-infected despite maternal triple drug prophylaxis. Infants exposed to a maternal regimen with NNRTI drugs should receive first-line therapy with lopinavir/ritonavir, a protease inhibitor. The significance of the NRTI mutations such as M184V with regard to response to therapy needs further evaluation. The M184V mutation may result in hypersensitization to other NRTI drugs and delay or reverse zidovudine resistance. Given the limited availability of alternative drugs for infants in resource-limited settings, provision of the standard WHO-recommended first-line NRTI backbone, which includes 3TC, with enhanced monitoring of the infant to ensure virologic suppression, could be considered. Such an approach should reduce both illness and morbidity among infants who become HIV positive through breastfeeding.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at 10.1371/journal.pmed.1000430.
The accompanying PLoS Medicine Research article by Thomas and colleagues describes the primary findings of the Kisumu Breastfeeding Study
Information is available from the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases on HIV infection and AIDS
HIV InSite has comprehensive information on 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 (in several languages), and guidance on the use of ARVs for preventing MTCT
PMCID: PMC3066134  PMID: 21468304
19.  Early Weaning of HIV-Exposed Uninfected Infants and Risk of Serious Gastroenteritis: Findings from Two Perinatal HIV Prevention Trials in Kampala, Uganda 
Journal of acquired immune deficiency syndromes (1999)  2009;10.1097/QAI.0b013e3181bdf68e.
To assess serious gastroenteritis risk and mortality associated with early cessation of breastfeeding in infants enrolled in two prevention-of-maternal-to-child-HIV-transmission trials in Uganda.
We used hazard rates to evaluate serious gastroenteritis events by month of age and mortality among HIV-exposed uninfected infants enrolled in the HIVNET 012 (1997-2001) and HIVIGLOB/NVP (2004-2007) trials. HIV-infected mothers were counseled using local infant feeding guidelines current at the time.
Breastfeeding cessation occurred earlier in HIVIGLOB/NVP compared to HIVNET 012 (median 4.0 vs. 9.3 months, p<0.001). Rates of serious gastroenteritis were higher in HIVIGLOB/NVP (8.0/1000 child-months) compared to HIVNET 012 (3.1/1000 child-months; p < 0.001). Serious gastroenteritis events also peaked earlier at 3-4 and 7-8 months (16.2/1000 and 15.0/1000 child-months, respectively) compared to HIVNET 012 at 9 to10 months (20.8/1000 child-months). All cause-infant mortality did not statistically differ between the HIVIGLOB/NVP and the HIVNET 012 trials [3.2/1000 versus 2.0/1000 child-months respectively, (p=0.10)]
Early breastfeeding cessation seen in the HIVIGLOB/NVP trial was associated with increased risk of serious gastroenteritis among HIV-exposed uninfected infants when compared to later breastfeeding cessation in the HIVNET 012 trial. Testing interventions which could decrease HIV transmission through breastfeeding and allow safe breastfeeding into the second year of life are urgently needed.
PMCID: PMC2888913  PMID: 19779355
HIV; infants; breastfeeding cessation; serious gastroenteritis; mortality; Uganda
20.  Considerations in Using US-Based Laboratory Toxicity Tables to Evaluate Laboratory Toxicities Among Healthy Malawian and Ugandan Infants 
To determine normal hematologic and selected blood chemistry values among healthy, full-term, non–HIV-exposed infants in Uganda and Malawi, and to determine the proportion of healthy babies with an apparent laboratory toxicity based on Division of AIDS toxicity tables.
This was a cross-sectional laboratory study of infants from birth to 6 months of age.
Blood samples were collected from a total of 561 infants and analyzed according to age categories similar to those in the 2004 Division of AIDS toxicity tables. Select chemistry and hematology parameters were determined and values compared with those in the toxicity tables.
In the first 56 days of life, there were few graded toxicities except for neutropenia in 2 of 10 (20%) Ugandan and 13 of 45 (29%) Malawian infants at birth. After 7 days, about 20% of the infants in Uganda and Malawi would have been classified as having a neutropenia whereas 47% and 53% of those more than 2 months of age in Uganda and Malawi respectively, would have been reported as having an abnormal hemoglobin. Chemistry findings were not different from US norms.
These findings underscore the importance of establishing relevant local laboratory norms for infants.
PMCID: PMC3033212  PMID: 20588184
Division of AIDS; normal laboratory reference values; non–HIV-exposed; toxicity tables; Ugandan; Malawian; infants
21.  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
22.  Predictors of Early and Late Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV in a Breastfeeding Population: HIV Network for Prevention Trials 012 Experience, Kampala, Uganda 
To determine the predictors for early versus later (breastfeeding) transmission of HIV-1.
Secondary data analysis was performed on HIV Network for Prevention Trials 012, a completed randomized clinical trial assessing the relative efficacy of nevirapine (NVP) versus zidovudine in reducing mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of HIV-1. We used Cox regression analysis to assess risk factors for MTCT. The ViroSeq HIV genotyping and a sensitive point mutation assay were used to detect NVP resistance mutations.
In this subset analyses, 122 of 610 infants were HIV infected, of whom 99 (81.1%) were infected early (first positive polymerase chain reaction ≤56 days). Incidence of MTCT after 56 days was low [0.7% per month (95% confidence interval, CI: 0.4 to 1.0)], but continued through 18 months. In multivariate analyses, early MTCT “factors” included NVP versus zidovudine (hazard ratio (HR) = 0.57, 95% CI: 0.38 to 0.86), pre-entry maternal viral load (VL, HR = 1.76, 95% CI: 1.28 to 2.41), and CD4 cell count (HR = 1.16, 95% CI: 1.05 to 1.28). Maternal VL (6–8 weeks) was associated with late MTCT (HR = 3.66, 95% CI: 1.78 to 7.50), whereas maternal NVP resistance (6–8 weeks) was not.
Maternal VL was the best predictor of both early and late transmission. Maternal NVP resistance at 6–8 weeks did not predict late transmission.
PMCID: PMC2767188  PMID: 19617849
early/late postnatal; MTCT; HIV-1
23.  Total Lymphocyte Count: not a surrogate marker for risk of death in HIV infected Ugandan children 
To determine the utility of Total Lymphocyte Count (TLC) in predicting the 12 month mortality in HIV infected Ugandan children; to correlate TLC and CD4 cell %.
This is a retrospective data analysis of clinical and laboratory data collected prospectively on 128 HIV infected children in the HIVNET 012 trial.
TLC and CD4 cell % measurements were obtained at birth, 14 weeks and 12, 24, 36, 48, and 60 months of age and assessed with respect to risk of death within 12 months.
Median TLC/ul (CD4 cell %) were 4150 (41%) at birth, 4900 (24%) at 12 months, 4300 (19%) at 24 months, 4150 (19 %) at 36 months, 4100 (18%) at 48 months and 3800 (20%) at 60 months. The highest risk of mortality within 12 months was 34–37% at birth and declined to 13–15% at 24 months regardless of TLC measurement. The correlation between CD4 cell % and TLC was extremely low overall (r = 0.01).
The TLC did not predict a risk of progression to death within 12 months and therefore TLC alone may not be a useful surrogate marker for determining those children in greatest need for antiretroviral therapy in HIV infected Ugandan children.
PMCID: PMC2721476  PMID: 18769352
Total Lymphocyte Count; HIV; Africa; children
24.  Analysis of nevirapine resistance mutations in cloned HIV-1 variants from HIV-infected Ugandan infants using a single step amplification-sequencing method (AmpliSeq) 
AIDS research and human retroviruses  2008;24(9):1209-1213.
We analyzed genetic linkage of nevirapine (NVP) resistance mutations and the genetic complexity of HIV-1 variants in Ugandan infants who were HIV-infected despite single dose (SD) prophylaxis. Plasma samples were obtained from six HIV-infected infants who had two or more NVP resistance mutations detected by population sequencing (ViroSeq). ViroSeq PCR products were cloned and transformed, and a single step amplification-sequencing reaction (AmpliSeq) was used to analyze NVP resistance mutations in cloned HIV-1 variants directly from bacterial colonies. Fifty clones were analyzed for each infant sample. This analysis revealed numerous NVP resistance mutations not detected by population sequencing, genetically-linked NVP resistance mutations, and a high degree of genetic complexity at codons that influence NVP susceptibility.
PMCID: PMC2562759  PMID: 18788912
25.  Analysis of Nevirapine Resistance Mutations in Cloned HIV Type 1 Variants from HIV-Infected Ugandan Infants Using a Single-Step Amplification-Sequencing Method (AmpliSeq) 
AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses  2008;24(9):1209-1213.
We analyzed the genetic linkage of nevirapine (NVP) resistance mutations and the genetic complexity of HIV-1 variants in Ugandan infants who were HIV infected despite single dose (SD) prophylaxis. Plasma samples were obtained from six HIV-infected infants who had two or more NVP resistance mutations detected by population sequencing (ViroSeq). ViroSeq PCR products were cloned and transformed, and a single-step amplification-sequencing reaction (AmpliSeq) was used to analyze NVP resistance mutations in cloned HIV-1 variants directly from bacterial colonies. Fifty clones were analyzed for each infant sample. This analysis revealed numerous NVP resistance mutations not detected by population sequencing, genetically linked NVP resistance mutations, and a high degree of genetic complexity at codons that influence NVP susceptibility.
PMCID: PMC2562759  PMID: 18788912

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