Updates to the World Health Organization's Recommendations for the Use of Antiretroviral Drugs for Treating Pregnant Women and Preventing HIV Infection in Infants

  • CM Bositis
  • I Gashongore
  • DM Patel


In July 2010, the World Health Organization (WHO) released new guidelines entitled, “Antiretroviral Drugs for Treating Pregnant Women and Preventing HIVInfection in Infants: Towards universal access.” Previewed in November 2009 in abridged form, the completed document highlights the key WHO recommendations for antiretroviral treatment (ART) and prophylaxis in pregnant women, and contains substantial changes from the 2006 guidelines. Of note, the new guidelines recommend ART for all pregnant women with a CD4 cell count (CD4) less than 350 cells/mm3, regardless of their clinical stage; includes tenofovir (TDF) as an acceptable alternative component of an ART regimen in pregnant and breastfeeding women; encourages initiation of both ART and antiretroviral (ARV) prophylaxis early in pregnancy; eliminates singledose nevirapine (sdNVP) per se as a prophylaxis option; lists three-drug ARV prophylaxis as an option for women who do not need ART for their own health; and introduces extended daily infant nevirapine (ED-NVP) as a strategy for prevention of breast milk transmission of HIV. This article reviews these new recommendations and their rationale, and highlights key implications and challenges to their implementation in the Zambian context.

Keywords: Guidelines, HIV, prevention of mother to child transmission, antiretroviral, Zambia


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 0047-651X
print ISSN: 0047-651X