Objective: Trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole prophylaxis is recommended for HIV-exposed infants until breastfeeding ends and HIV infection has been excluded. Extending prophylaxis with a focus on preventing malaria may be beneficial in high transmission areas. We investigated three regimens for the prevention of malaria in young HIV-exposed children.
Design: An open-label, randomized controlled trial.
Setting: Tororo, Uganda, a rural area with intense, year-round, malaria transmission.
Participants: Two hundred infants aged 4-5 months enrolled and 186 randomized after cessation of breastfeeding and confirmed to be HIV uninfected (median 10 months of age).
Intervention: No chemoprevention, monthly sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine, daily trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole or monthly dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine given from randomization to 24 months of age.
Main outcome measures: The primary outcome was the incidence of malaria during the intervention period. Secondary outcomes included the incidence of hospitalization, diarrhoeal illness, or respiratory tract infection; prevalence of anaemia and asymptomatic parasitemia; measures of safety; and incidence of malaria over 1 year after the intervention was stopped.
Results: During the intervention, the incidence of malaria in the no chemoprevention group was 6.28 episodes per person-year at risk. Protective efficacy was 69% [95% confidence interval (95% CI) 53-80, P < 0.001] for dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine, 49% (95% CI 23-66, P = 0.001) for trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole and 9% for sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (95% CI -35 to 38, P = 0.65). There were no significant differences in any secondary outcomes, with the exception of a lower prevalence of asymptomatic parasitemia in the dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine arm.
Conclusion: Monthly chemoprevention with dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine was well tolerated and associated with a significant reduction in malaria in young HIV-exposed children.