For HIV-infected women in good immune health, taking a three-drug regimen during pregnancy prevents mother-to-child HIV transmission more effectively than taking one drug during pregnancy, another during labor and two more after giving birth,  an international clinical trial has found.

Image/James Gathany
Image/James Gathany

The ongoing PROMISE (Promoting Maternal-Infant Survival Everywhere) study also has found that one triple-drug regimen for preventing mother-to-child transmission may be safer than another for women and their babies.

These findings provide further support for World Health Organization guidelines for preventing mother-to-child HIV transmission, according to the researchers. The findings were reported on Nov. 4, 2014 during a scheduled interim review of the PROMISE study data by an independent data and safety monitoring board (DSMB).

“We now have the gold standard of evidence — data from a randomized clinical trial — supporting a three-drug regimen as the preferred approach for preventing HIV transmission from an infected mother to her baby during pregnancy and delivery,” said Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at the National Institutes of Health. “This is another important step in our efforts to define the best approaches toward the goal of eliminating of mother-to-child HIV transmission globally.”

“The new findings strongly support the recommendation by WHO and most countries to provide a three-drug anti-HIV regimen to all pregnant women with HIV infection,” added George Siberry, M.D., a medical officer in the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) at NIH.

Read the complete NIH news release HERE