Early Diagnosis and Treatment in Infants Is Challenging

Even if we have the best drug, it cannot do anything if we don't have all [the social] aspects together.

-- Bindiya Meggi, M.Sc.

In an interview on behalf of IFARA at CROI 2017, Natella Rakhmanina spoke with Hermione Lyall, Jintanat Ananworanich and Bindiya Meggi about HIV in infants. Immediate diagnosis and early treatment provide the best chance for achieving remission of the virus in infants. Yet, in resource-limited settings, central processing of HIV tests may delay results for several months after birth.

Mozambique therefore studied a point-of-care device that provides same-day HIV test results (HIV+/HIV- only). Clinics using the device saw a seven-fold increase in the number of children on HIV treatment and 20% better retention in care three months later compared with the standard of care in the country.

While better drugs for very young infants are desirable, support for their mothers and community education about the importance of treatment are needed for these medications to have the desired effect. Even with better prevention of HIV transmission at birth, some infants may have seroconverted in utero months earlier. Thus, treatment right after birth may not start early enough in these babies.

Watch the video to learn more:

About the panelists:

  • Natella Rakhmanina, M.D., Ph.D., George Washington University, Washington, D.C.; moderator.
  • Hermione Lyall, M.D., MRCP, FRCPCH, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, London, United Kingdom.
  • Jintanat Ananworanich, M.D., Ph.D., U.S. Military HIV Research Program.
  • Bindiya Meggi, M.Sc., Instituto Nacional de Saúde Moçambique, Mozambique.

The video above has been posted on TheBodyPRO.com with permission from our partners at the International Foundation for Alternative Research in AIDS (IFARA). Visit IFARA's website or YouTube channel to watch more video interviews from the conference, as well as earlier meetings.