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NIH Record - National Institutes of Health

Newer Anti-HIV Drugs Safest, Most Effective During Pregnancy

Image of pills

A variety of antiretroviral drugs used to treat HIV

Photo: NIAID

The antiretroviral drugs dolutegravir and emtricitabine/tenofovir alafenamide fumarate (DTG+FTC/TAF) may comprise the safest and most effective HIV treatment regimen currently available during pregnancy, researchers announced. Their findings come from a multinational study of more than 640 pregnant women with HIV across 4 continents. The study results affirm updated recommendations for HIV treatment in pregnant women set forth by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Previous research clearly has demonstrated that antiretroviral therapy (ART) to suppress HIV prevents perinatal HIV transmission and benefits the health of both mother and child. The current study compared three antiretroviral drug regimens and found that regimens containing dolutegravir (DTG) were more effective in suppressing HIV than a commonly used regimen containing efavirenz (EFV).

The phase 3 clinical trial is called IMPAACT 2010 or VESTED (Virologic Efficacy and Safety of Antiretroviral Therapy Combinations with TAF/TDF, EFV and DTG). It was sponsored by NIAID.

Dr. Lameck Chinula of UNC presented the findings Mar. 11 at the 2020 Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections.

“When a woman living with HIV is expecting, she can be confident that the same antiretroviral therapy she takes every day to protect her own health also helps protects her future child from acquiring HIV,” said NIAID director Dr. Anthony Fauci. “Findings from the VESTED study suggest that a drug regimen containing dolutegravir provides the safest, most effective HIV treatment available during this critical time for women and their infants.”

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