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July 20, 2016

PROMISE study presents drug therapy to eliminate HIV transmission from breastfeeding mothers to infants

The Promoting Maternal and Infant Survival Everywhere (PROMISE) study conducted in sub-Saharan Africa and India has stated that administration of a three-drug, anti-retroviral regimen during breastfeeding of HIV-infected mothers who have a strong immunity system eliminates the risk of HIV transmission by breast milk to their infants.

The Promoting Maternal and Infant Survival Everywhere (PROMISE) study conducted in sub-Saharan Africa and India has stated that administration of a three-drug, anti-retroviral regimen during breastfeeding of HIV-infected mothers who have a strong immunity system eliminates the risk of HIV transmission by breast milk to their infants.

Multi-component study PROMISE involved 2,431 pairs of HIV-infected mothers and their HIV-uninfected infants from South Africa, Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe and India.

A component of this study was designed to determine ways to eliminate HIV transmission from HIV-infected women to their babies during pregnancy, delivery and after childbirth, while maintaining good health of both the mother and her baby.

The mothers were administered with a regimen of triple-drug, anti-retroviral therapy continuously throughout the study, while the infants were treated with daily doses of nevirapine until six weeks after birth.

"These findings add to the considerable body of evidence confirming the benefits of anti-retroviral therapy for every person living with HIV."

It was followed by a second dosage of triple-drug antiretroviral therapy for the mother until one week post delivery and daily doses of nevirapine for the infant after the first week of their birth and continued throughout the study.

The researchers concluded that the maternal, three-drug anti-retroviral therapy, as well as infant nevirapine offered protection against a possible HIV transmission from mother to child.

National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) director Anthony Fauci said: “These findings add to the considerable body of evidence confirming the benefits of anti-retroviral therapy for every person living with HIV.

“Maternal anti-retroviral therapy safely minimises the threat of HIV transmission through breast milk while preserving the health advantages of breastfeeding, as the high infant survival in this study underscores.”

It recorded a low infant mortality rate with almost a 100% survival of all the infants in the first year of their life.

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