Preventing HIV in babies
A woman who is already on ART when she becomes pregnant should continue
taking it. When her baby is born, he will also need to be given medicine for a few
weeks. See below.
Even if a woman with HIV is not taking ART for her own health, ART medicines
can be taken during pregnancy and breastfeeding, and given to the baby after birth
to prevent HIV from spreading to the baby. Used in this way, the medicines are
given for a limited period of time, not life-long like ART. This is sometimes called
prevention of mother-to-child transmission.
Medicines are only one part of preventing HIV in a baby. Safer sex during
pregnancy, safe birth practices, careful feeding of the baby, and treatment of illnesses
in both mother and child are also important to prevent babies from getting HIV.
ART medicines to prevent HIV in babies (mother-to-child transmission)
If the mother is already taking ART, she should continue taking her medicines and also
give the baby the medicines listed in Option 2.
If the mother is not taking ART for her own health, she and her baby should take the
medicines listed in either Option 1 or Option 2 to prevent HIV from passing to the baby.
Find out what is available and recommended in your country.
FOR THE MOTHER
During pregnancy, starting as soon as possible
from 14 weeks of becoming pregnant
• s he should take AZT, 300 mg, 2 times a day.
• she should take AZT, 600 mg, in a single
dose when labor starts.
If she did not take AZT during pregnancy, or
took it for less than 4 weeks, she should also take:
• N VP (nevirapine), 200 mg, in a single dose
when labor starts, AND
• 3TC (lamivudine), 150 mg, when labor starts,
and every 12 hours until the baby is born.
If she is breastfeeding, she should take:
• AZT , 300 mg, 2 times a day for 7 days, AND
• 3TC (lamivudine), 150 mg,
2 times a day for 7 days.
FOR THE BABY
Immediately after birth, give the baby:
• NVP (nevirapine), 2 mg/kg oral suspension
(or 6 mg), in a single dose.
If not breastfeeding, the baby should also have:
• AZT, oral suspension, 4 mg/kg, 2 times a day
for 6 weeks, OR
• NVP (nevirapine), oral suspension,
2 mg/kg, once a day for 6 weeks.
If breastfeeding, the baby should also have:
• NVP (nevirapine), oral suspension, 2 mg/kg,
once a day from birth, until 1 week after
all breastfeeding has ended.
FOR THE MOTHER
Starting as soon as possible from 14 weeks of
becoming pregnant, she should take one of the
ART combinations on page 494. She will need
to take the medicines every day, until 1 week
after all breastfeeding has ended.
FOR THE BABY
Whether or not the baby is breastfeeding, he
should be given:
• NVP (nevirapine) oral suspension, 2 mg/kg,
once a day for 6 weeks, OR
• A ZT, oral suspension, 4 mg/kg, once a day
for 6 weeks.
A Book for Midwives (2010)