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Intensification of antiretroviral treatment with raltegravir for pregnant women living with HIV at high risk of vertical transmission

Author List
Thanyawee Puthanakit
Nattawan Thepnarong
Surasith Chaithongwongwatthana
Suvaporn Anugulruengkitt
Orawan Anunsittichai
Tuangtip Theerawit
Sasiwimol Ubolyam
Chitsanu Pancharoen
Praphan Phanuphak


Objectives: The rate of vertical HIV transmission for women at high risk of HIV transmission stands at approximately 7.6%. In the present study we describe infant infection rates in women who had received raltegravir (RAL) intensification during pregnancy to a standard three-drug antiretroviral (ART) regimen in Thailand. Methods: This prospective cohort study enrolled HIV-1-positive pregnant women at high risk of vertical transmission, as defined by (1) ART initiation at a gestational age (GA) ≥32 weeks or (2) HIV-1 RNA >1000 copies/mL at GA of 32–38 weeks while on ART. Women received a standard three-drug ART regimen with RAL intensification (400 mg twice daily) until delivery and continued on a three-drug ART regimen after delivery. Plasma HIV-1 RNA testing was performed before intensification and at delivery. Infant HIV-1 status was determined using DNA PCR at birth, and at 1, 2 and 4 months of life. Results: Between February 2016 and November 2017, 154 pregnant women on ART were enrolled into the study with a median CD4 cell count and plasma HIV-1 RNA level of 382 cells/mm3 and 4.0 log10 copies/mL, respectively. The three-drug combination consisted of either a lopinavir/ritonavir- (53%) or efavirenz-based (43%) regimen. Median GA at time of RAL initiation was 34 weeks (interquartile range [IQR] 33–36) and median duration was 21 days (IQR 8–34). The proportion of women who had a plasma HIV-1 RNA <50 and <1000 copies/mL at delivery was 45% and 76%, respectively. There were six infants with HIV infection, three in utero and three peripartum. Overall vertical transmission rate was 3.9% (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.4–8.2). Conclusion: The majority of high-risk pregnant women living with HIV-1 who had received RAL intensification achieved viral suppression at delivery with a relatively low rate of vertical transmission. This intensification strategy represents an option for prevention in HIV-positive women at high risk of vertical transmission.

Article Category

HIV cure research

Article Type

Original research

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