Prior to 1994, 25% to 35% of infants born to HIV-positive mothers became HIV positive themselves. But a landmark NICHD-led study1 published that year showed that the risk of mother-to-child transmission could be greatly reduced with antiretroviral therapy (ART).
Children of HIV-infected mothers are now routinely given a course of ART perinatally (while they are still in the womb or shortly after birth) and most of these children now avoid infection.
Although reducing these numbers is a major accomplishment and public health advance, research continues to ensure ART is the best it can be and that those who receive the treatment remain healthy. The NICHD and other NIH Institutes continue to make this research a priority through the Pediatric HIV/AIDS Cohort Study (PHACS). To learn more about some of the Study's findings, select a link below.
PHACS GoalsLong-Term PHACS StudiesImportant FindingsMore Information
In 2005, as the first children to receive ART moved toward adolescence, the NICHD and other NIH Institutes launched PHACS to get more information about the health of these children over time. In particular, PHACS studies aim to:
PHACS is funded by the NICHD through the Maternal and Pediatric Infectious Disease Branch and by several other NIH Institutes.
Both SMARTT and AMP have provided and continue to provide important information, including some long-term health outcomes of perinatal HIV infection and exposure.
Among the findings so far are the following:
Some PHACS studies have also looked at behavioral outcomes among study participants. Among the results reported from those studies are:
Other PHACS studies have looked at treatments. One such study found that the antiretroviral drug tenofovir was used by almost 40% of HIV-infected women during pregnancy.13 (The use of tenofovir continues to increase and is now about 60%.)
Collaboration and data sharing are also critical to PHACS and will lead to better treatments not only for HIV/AIDS, but also for other infections and health conditions. For example, a collaboration between PHACS and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention led to the recommendation from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices that HIV-infected youth be re-immunized for measles after receiving combination ART.
PHACS has identified health issues associated with perinatal exposure to HIV, as well as positive health outcomes of ART. The effort to increase knowledge continues with SMAART and AMP, with the aim of evaluating better treatments, more targeted preventive efforts, and more timely care.
For more information about PHACS, select one of the following links:
Originally Posted: August 2, 2013
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