Public Health Service Task Force recommendations for the use of antiretroviral drugs in pregnant women infected with HIV-1 for maternal health and for reducing perinatal HIV-1 transmission in the United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

MMWR Recomm Rep. 1998 Jan 30;47(RR-2):1-30.


These recommendations update the 1994 guidelines developed by the Public Health Service for the use of zidovudine (ZDV) to reduce the risk for perinatal human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) transmission. This report provides health-care providers with information for discussion with HIV-1-infected pregnant women to enable such women to make an informed decision regarding the use of antiretroviral drugs during pregnancy. Various circumstances that commonly occur in clinical practice are presented as scenarios and the factors influencing treatment considerations are highlighted in this report. In February 1994, the results of Pediatric AIDS Clinical Trials Group (PACTG) Protocol 076 documented that ZDV chemoprophylaxis could reduce perinatal HIV-1 transmission by nearly 70%. Epidemiologic data have since confirmed the efficacy of ZDV for reduction of perinatal transmission and have extended this efficacy to children of women with advanced disease, low CD4+ T-lymphocyte counts, and prior ZDV therapy. Additionally, substantial advances have been made in the understanding of the pathogenesis of HIV-1 infection and in the treatment and monitoring of HIV-1 disease. These advances have resulted in changes in standard antiretroviral therapy for HIV-1-infected adults. More aggressive combination drug regimens that maximally suppress viral replication are now recommended. Although considerations associated with pregnancy may affect decisions regarding timing and choice of therapy, pregnancy is not a reason to defer standard therapy. The use of antiretroviral drugs in pregnancy requires unique considerations, including the potential need to alter dosing as a result of physiologic changes associated with pregnancy, the potential for adverse short- or long-term effects on the fetus and newborn, and the effectiveness for reducing the risk for perinatal transmission. Data to address many of these considerations are not yet available. Therefore, offering antiretroviral therapy to HIV-1-infected women during pregnancy, whether primarily to treat HIV-1 infection, to reduce perinatal transmission, or for both purposes, should be accompanied by a discussion of the known and unknown short- and long-term benefits and risks of such therapy for infected women and their infants. Standard antiretroviral therapy should be discussed with and offered to HIV-1-infected pregnant women. Additionally, to prevent perinatal transmission, ZDV chemoprophylaxis should be incorporated into the antiretroviral regimen.

Publication types

  • Guideline
  • Practice Guideline

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anti-HIV Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / congenital
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy*
  • HIV Infections / transmission
  • HIV Protease Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • HIV-1* / isolation & purification
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infectious Disease Transmission, Vertical / prevention & control*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / drug therapy*
  • RNA, Viral
  • Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • United States
  • Viral Load


  • Anti-HIV Agents
  • HIV Protease Inhibitors
  • RNA, Viral
  • Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors