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Antiretrovirals Protect Infants From HIV in Breast Milk

Antiretrovirals Protect Infants From HIV in Breast Milk


Babies who nurse from their HIV-positive mothers are significantly less likely to become infected with HIV if they are treated with anti-HIV medications throughout the breast-feeding period, according to a study presented in July at the International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Pathogenesis and Treatment. 'With a relatively simple intervention you can prevent nearly all these children who were not infected [at childbirth] from becoming infected,' lead researcher Joep Lange of Amsterdam's International Antiviral Therapy Evaluation Center told Reuters Health. The study showed that only 1.1% of infants treated with 3TC and 0.6% treated with Viramune contracted HIV through breast milk, compared to about 15% of the babies who were not given anti-HIV drugs. The researchers say the treatment approach could be particularly valuable in developing nations, where alternatives to breast milk are rare.

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