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J Infect Dis. 2005 Sep 1;192(5):713-9. Epub 2005 Jul 27.

Highly active antiretroviral therapy started during pregnancy or postpartum suppresses HIV-1 RNA, but not DNA, in breast milk.

Author information

1
Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases, Harvard School of Public Health, and Division of Infectious Diseases, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts 02215, USA. rshapiro@bidmc.harvard.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The ability of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) to reduce human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) RNA and DNA in breast milk has not been described.

METHODS:

We compared breast-milk HIV-1 RNA and DNA loads of women in Botswana who received HAART (nevirapine, lamivudine, and zidovudine) and women who did not receive HAART.

RESULTS:

Women in the HAART group received treatment for a median of 98 days (range, 67-222 days) at the time of breast-milk sampling; 23 (88%) of 26 had whole breast-milk HIV-1 RNA loads <50 copies/mL, compared with 9 (36%) of 25 women who did not receive HAART (P=.0001). This finding remained significant in a multivariate logistic-regression model (P = .0006). The whole-milk HIV-1 DNA load was unaffected by HAART. Of women who received HAART, 13 (50%) of 26 had HIV-1 DNA loads <10 copies/10(6) cells, compared with 15 (65%) of 23 who did not receive HAART (P = .39).

CONCLUSIONS:

HAART suppressed cell-free HIV-1 RNA in breast milk and may therefore reduce mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of HIV-1 via breast-feeding. However, HAART initiated during pregnancy or early after delivery had no apparent effect on cell-associated HIV-1 DNA loads in breast milk. Clinical trials to determine MTCT among breast-feeding women receiving HAART are needed.

PMID:
16088820
DOI:
10.1086/432489
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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