Background: Peripartum antiretroviral regimens have been shown to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV (MTCT) in randomized clinical trials; however, direct comparison of published results is impossible given methodological and population differences.
Objective: To directly compare the efficacy of different antiretroviral regimens in reducing the risk of 6-week MTCT rate in African breastfeeding populations.
Methods: Pooled analysis including all mother-infant pairs from any relevant trial: West African ZDV-placebo trials, Petra ZDV+3TC [two regimens A (pre/intra/post-partum) and B (intra/post-partum), placebo from Uganda and Tanzania], SAINT (NVP and Petra arm B), HIVNET012 (NVP, ultra short ZDV pp) and the Vitamin A trial (as placebo arm in South Africa). Peripartum HIV infection was any positive RNA or DNA polymerase chain reaction test < day 60. The MTCT risk was estimated at 6 weeks for each treatment arm and compared with placebo or single-dose NVP using logistic regression adjusting for maternal CD4 cell count, breastfeeding and birthweight.
Results: Overall, 4125 singleton live-births were included; 3629 (88%) were assessed for HIV status at 6 weeks of age. In comparison with placebo, zidovudine + lamivudine (ZDV+3TC) arm A [adjusted odds ratio (AOR), 0.23; P < 0.0001], ZDV+3TC arm B (AOR, 0.49; P < 0.001), antenatal ZDV short (AOR, 0.55; P = 0.006) and nevirapine (NVP) (AOR, 0.60; P = 0.0007) significantly reduced MTCT. In comparison with NVP, only the longest regimen of ZDV+3TC (AOR, 0.39, P < 0.0005) was significantly more effective.
Conclusion: These results are in line with current World Health Organisation guidelines suggesting equivalence of choice between single-dose NVP and short-course ZDV, and confirm the greater efficacy of ZDV+3TC than with any single antiretroviral drug.