Antiretroviral drugs to prevent breastfeeding HIV transmission

Antivir Ther. 2010;15(4):537-53. doi: 10.3851/IMP1574.


Observational studies and randomized clinical trials demonstrating that antiretroviral prophylaxis of the breastfeeding infant or triple-drug antiretroviral prophylaxis of the lactating mother can significantly affect the risk of postnatal transmission of HIV via breast milk have recently become available. In resource-limited countries, breastfeeding is a cornerstone of infant survival. While shortening the duration of breastfeeding by HIV-infected women reduces postnatal HIV transmission, increasing data suggest this may also decrease overall infant survival. Thus, there is a crucial need for interventions to allow safer and more prolonged breastfeeding. This paper will critically review the results of studies of postnatal antiretroviral prophylaxis to prevent breast milk HIV transmission.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-HIV Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Breast Feeding / adverse effects*
  • Chemoprevention
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy*
  • HIV Infections / transmission
  • HIV Infections / virology
  • HIV-1 / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infectious Disease Transmission, Vertical / prevention & control*
  • Lactation
  • Milk, Human / virology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / drug therapy
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*


  • Anti-HIV Agents
  • Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors