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UNICEF's contribution to the adoption and implementation of option B+ for preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV: a policy analysis.
Globalization and Health. 2018 Jun 1; 14(1):55.BACKGROUND: Between 2011 and 2013, global and national guidelines for preventing mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV shifted to recommend Option B+, the provision of lifelong antiretroviral treatment for all HIV-infected pregnant women. METHODS: We aimed to analyse how Option B+ reached the policy agenda, and unpack the processes, actors and politics that explain its adoption, with a focus on examining UNICEF's contribution to these events. Analysis drew on published articles and other documentation, 30 key informants interviews with staff at UNICEF, partner organisations and government officials, and country case studies. Cameroon, India, South Africa and Zimbabwe were each visited for 5-8 days. Interview transcripts were analysed using Dedoose software, reviewed several times and then coded thematically. RESULTS: A national policy initiative in Malawi in 2011, in which the country adopted Option B+, rather than existing WHO recommended regimens, irrevocably placed the policy on the global agenda. UNICEF and other organisations recognised the policy's potential impact and strategically crafted arguments to support it, framing these around operational considerations, cost-effectiveness and values. As 'policy entrepreneurs', these organisations vigorously promoted the policy through a variety of channels and means, overcoming concerted opposition. WHO, on the basis of scanty evidence, released a series of documents towards the policy's endorsement, paving the way for its widespread adoption. National-level policy transformation was rapid and definitive, distinct from previous incremental policy processes. Many organisations, including UNICEF, facilitated these changes in country, acting individually, or in concert. CONCLUSIONS: The adoption of the Option B+ policy marked a departure from established processes for PMTCT policy formulation which had been led by WHO with the support of technical experts, and in which recommendations were developed following shifts in evidence. Rather, changes were spurred by a country-level initiative, and a set of strategically framed arguments that resonated with funders and country-level actors. This bottom-up approach, supported by normative agencies, was transformative. For UNICEF, alignment between the organisation's country focus and the policy's underpinning values, enabled it to work with partners and accelerate widespread policy change.
Progress Toward Eliminating Mother to Child Transmission of HIV in Kenya: Review of Treatment Guideline Uptake and Pediatric Transmission at Four Government Hospitals Between 2010 and 2012.
AIDS and Behavior. 2016 Nov; 20(11):2602-2611.We analyzed prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) data from a retrospective cohort of n = 1365 HIV+ mothers who enrolled their HIV-exposed infants in early infant diagnosis services in four Kenyan government hospitals from 2010 to 2012. Less than 15 and 20 % of mother-infant pairs were provided with regimens that met WHO Option A and B/B+ guidelines, respectively. Annually, the gestational age at treatment initiation decreased, while uptake of Option B/B+ increased (all p's < 0.001). Pediatric HIV infection was halved (8.6-4.3 %), yet varied significantly by hospital. In multivariable analyses, HIV-exposed infants who received no PMTCT (AOR 4.6 [2.49, 8.62], p < 0.001), mixed foods (AOR 5.0 [2.77, 9.02], p < 0.001), and care at one of the four hospitals (AOR 3.0 [1.51, 5.92], p = 0.002) were more likely to be HIV-infected. While the administration and uptake of WHO PMTCT guidelines is improving, an expanded focus on retention and medication adherence will further reduce pediatric HIV transmission.
Decreased emergence of HIV-1 drug resistance mutations in a cohort of Ugandan women initiating option B+ for PMTCT.
PloS One. 2017; 12(5):e0178297.BACKGROUND: Since 2012, WHO guidelines for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV-1 in resource-limited settings recommend the initiation of lifelong antiretroviral combination therapy (cART) for all pregnant HIV-1 positive women independent of CD4 count and WHO clinical stage (Option B+). However, long-term outcomes regarding development of drug resistance are lacking until now. Therefore, we analysed the emergence of drug resistance mutations (DRMs) in women initiating Option B+ in Fort Portal, Uganda, at 12 and 18 months postpartum (ppm). METHODS AND FINDINGS: 124 HIV-1 positive pregnant women were enrolled within antenatal care services in Fort Portal, Uganda. Blood samples were collected at the first visit prior starting Option B+ and postpartum at week six, month six, 12 and 18. Viral load was determined by real-time RT-PCR. An RT-PCR covering resistance associated positions in the protease and reverse transcriptase HIV-1 genomic region was performed. PCR-positive samples at 12/18 ppm and respective baseline samples were analysed by next generation sequencing regarding HIV-1 drug resistant variants including low-frequency variants. Furthermore, vertical transmission of HIV-1 was analysed. 49/124 (39.5%) women were included into the DRM analysis. Virological failure, defined as >1000 copies HIV-1 RNA/ml, was observed in three and seven women at 12 and 18 ppm, respectively. Sequences were obtained for three and six of these. In total, DRMs were detected in 3/49 (6.1%) women. Two women displayed dual-class resistance against all recommended first-line regimen drugs. Of 49 mother-infant-pairs no infant was HIV-1 positive at 12 or 18 ppm. CONCLUSION: Our findings suggest that the WHO-recommended Option B+ for PMTCT is effective in a cohort of Ugandan HIV-1 positive pregnant women with regard to the low selection rate of DRMs and vertical transmission. Therefore, these results are encouraging for other countries considering the implementation of lifelong cART for all pregnant HIV-1 positive women.
Implications of the new WHO guidelines on HIV and infant feeding for child survival in South Africa.
Bulletin of the World Health Organization. 2011 Jan 1; 89(1):62-7.The World Health Organization released revised principles and recommendations for HIV and infant feeding in November 2009. The recommendations are based on programmatic evidence and research studies that have accumulated over the past few years within African countries. This document urges national or subnational health authorities to decide whether health services should mainly counsel and support HIV-infected mothers to breastfeed and receive antiretroviral interventions, or to avoid all breastfeeding, based on estimations of which strategy is likely to give infants in those communities the greatest chance of HIV-free survival. South Africa has recently revised its clinical guidelines for prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission, adopting many of the recommendations in the November 2009 World Health Organization's rapid advice on use of antiretroviral drugs for treating pregnant women and preventing HIV infection in infants. However, one aspect of the new South African guidelines gives cause for concern: the continued provision of free formula milk to HIV-infected women through public health facilities. This paper presents the latest evidence regarding mortality and morbidity associated with feeding practices in the context of HIV and suggests a modification of current policy to prioritize child survival for all South African children.
Clinics In Perinatology. 2010 Dec; 37(4):765-76, viii.The World Health Organization's Strategic Approaches to the Prevention of HIV Infection in Infants includes 4 components: primary prevention of HIV-1 infection; prevention of unintended pregnancies among HIV-1-infected women; prevention of transmission of HIV-1 infection from mothers to children; and provision of ongoing support, care, and treatment to HIV-1-infected women and their families. This review focuses on antiretrovirals for secondary prevention of HIV-1 infection-prevention of HIV-1 transmission from an HIV-1-infected woman to her child. Antiretroviral strategies to prevent the mother-to-child transmission of HIV-1 in nonbreastfeeding populations comprise antiretroviral treatment of HIV-1-infected pregnant women needing antiretrovirals for their own health, antiretroviral prophylaxis for HIV-1-infected pregnant women not yet meeting criteria for treatment, and antiretroviral prophylaxis for infants of HIV-1-infected mothers. The review primarily addresses antiretroviral strategies for nonbreastfeeding, HIV-1-infected women and their infants in resource-rich settings, such as the United States. Antiretroviral strategies to prevent antepartum, intrapartum, and early postnatal transmission in resource-poor settings are also addressed, albeit more briefly. Copyright (c) 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Antiretroviral resistance patterns and HIV-1 subtype in mother-infant pairs after the administration of combination short-course zidovudine plus single-dose nevirapine for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
Clinical Infectious Diseases. 2009 Jul 15; 49(2):299-305.BACKGROUND: World Health Organization guidelines for prevention of mother-to-child transmission of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) recommend administration of zidovudine and single-dose nevirapine (NVP) for HIV-1-infected women who are not receiving treatment for their own health or if complex regimens are not available. This study assessed antiretroviral resistance patterns among HIV-infected women and infants receiving single-dose NVP in Thailand, where the predominant circulating HIV-1 strains are CRF01_AE recombinants and where the minority are subtype B. METHODS: Venous blood samples were obtained from (1) HIV-infected women who received zidovudine from 34 weeks' gestation and single-dose NVP plus oral zidovudine during labor and (2) HIV-infected infants who received single-dose NVP after birth plus zidovudine for 4 weeks after delivery. HIV-1 drug resistance testing was performed using the TruGene assay (Bayer HealthCare). RESULTS: Most mothers and infants were infected with CRF01_AE. NVP resistance was detected in 34 (18%) of 190 women and 2 (20%) of 10 infants. There was a significantly higher proportion of NVP mutations in women with delivery viral loads of >50,000 copies/mL (adjusted odds ratio, 8.5; 95% confidence interval, 2.2-32.8, [Formula: see text] for linear trend) and in those with subtype B rather than CRF01_AE infections (38% vs. 16%; adjusted odds ratio, 3.6; 95% confidence interval, 1.1-11.8; P = .038). CONCLUSIONS: The lower frequency of NVP mutations among mothers infected with subtype CRF01_AE, compared with mothers infected with subtype B, suggests that individuals infected with subtype CRF01_AE may be less susceptible to the induction of NVP resistance than are individuals infected with subtype B.
New York, New York, UNICEF, 2008 Apr. 48 p.This report will focus on three major themes. First, strengthening communities and families is crucial to every aspect of a child-centred approach to AIDS. Support by governments, NGOs and other actors should therefore be complementary to and supportive of these family and community efforts, through, for example, ensuring access to basic services. Second, interventions to support children affected by HIV and AIDS are most effective when they form part of strong health, education and social welfare systems. Unfortunately, because maternal and child health programmes are weak in many countries, millions of children, HIV-positive and -negative alike, go without immunization, mosquito nets and other interventions that contribute to the overall goal of HIV-free child survival. A final theme of this report is the challenge of measurement. Documenting advances and shortfalls strengthens commitment and guides progress. A number of countries have data available on the 'Four Ps', and targeted studies are being developed to assess the situation of the marginalized young people who are most at risk but often missed in routine surveys. (excerpt)
Global progress in PMTCT and paediatric HIV care and treatment in low- and middle-income countries in 2004 -- 2005.
Reproductive Health Matters. 2007 Sep; 15(30):179-189.A growing number of countries are moving to scale up interventions for prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV in maternal and child health services. Similarly, many are working to improve access to paediatric HIV treatment. This paper reviews national programme data for 2004-2005 from low- and middle-income countries to track progress in these programmes. The attainment of the UNGASS target of reducing HIV infections by 50% by 2010 necessitates that 80% of all pregnant women accessing antenatal care receive PMTCT services. In 2005, only seven of the 71 countries were on track to meet this target. However PMTCT coverage increased from 7% in 2004 (58 countries) to 11% in 2005 (71 countries). In 2005, 8% of all infants born to HIV positive mothers received antiretroviral prophylaxis for PMTCT, up from 5% in 2004, though only 4% received cotrimoxazole. 11% of HIV positive children in need received antiretroviral treatment in 2005. In 31 countries that had data, 28% of women who received an antiretroviral for PMTCT also reported receiving antiretroviral treatment for their own health. Achieving the UNGASS target is possible but will require substantial investments and commitment to strengthen maternal and child health services, the health workforce and health systems to move from pilot projects to a decentralised, integrated approach. (author's)
Flash-heat inactivation of HIV-1 in human milk: A potential method to reduce postnatal transmission in developing countries.
Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes. 2007 Jul; 45(3):318-323.Up to 40% of all mother-to-child transmission of HIV occurs by means of breast-feeding; yet, in developing countries, infant formula may not be a safe option. The World Health Organization recommends heat-treated breast milk as an infant-feeding alternative. We investigated the ability of a simple method, flash-heat, to inactivate HIV in breast milk from HIV-positive mothers. Ninety-eight breast milk samples, collected from 84 HIV-positive mothers in a periurban settlement in South Africa, were aliquoted to unheated control and flash-heating. Reverse transcriptase (RT) assays (lower detection limit of 400 HIV copies/mL) were performed to differentiate active versus inactivated cell-free HIV in unheated and flash-heated samples. We found detectable HIV in breast milk samples from 31% (26 of 84) of mothers. After adjusting for covariates, multivariate logistic regression showed a statistically significant negative association between detectable virus in breast milk and maternal CD4+ T-lymphocyte count (P = 0.045) and volume of breast milk expressed (P = 0.01) and a positive association with use of multivitamins (P = 0.03). All flash-heated samples showed undetectable levels of cell-free HIV-1 as detected by the RT assay (P less than 0.00001). Flash-heat can inactivate HIV in naturally infected breast milk from HIV-positive women. Field studies are urgently needed to determine the feasibility of in-home flash-heating breast milk to improve infant health while reducing postnatal transmission of HIV in developing countries. (author's)