IMC: Partner's Pregnancy Doubles HIV Risk in Men

Second study suggests that tenofovir gel may be feasible for use in pregnant women
By Rick Ansorge
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, May 24 (HealthDay News) -- HIV-negative men with an HIV-positive partner have a doubled risk of infection during their partner's pregnancy, according to research presented at the International Microbicides Conference, held from May 22 to 25 in Pittsburgh. Another study suggests that the use of tenofovir gel in pregnant women may be a safe HIV-prevention strategy.

In one study, Nelly Mugo, M.D., of the University of Nairobi & Kenyatta National Hospital in Kenya, and colleagues studied 3,321 African serodiscordant couples. They found that pregnancy in female HIV-1 infected partners was associated with a significantly increased risk of female-to-male HIV-1 transmission (hazard ratio, 2.21).

In a related study, Richard Beigi, M.D., of the Magee-Women's Hospital of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, and colleagues applied a single dose (40 mg) of tenofovir gel to 16 healthy HIV-negative women about two hours before they gave birth by scheduled cesarean delivery. They found that the amount of the drug in umbilical cord blood was 40 times lower than cord blood levels noted in other studies after oral dosing, and that the amount absorbed into maternal blood was at levels 50- to 100-times lower.

"While tenofovir does appear to cross the placenta, absolute fetal exposure after vaginal dosing is low with a similar cord:maternal ratio noted after oral dosing. These findings support ongoing investigation of tenofovir 1 percent vaginal gel in pregnant women," Beigi and colleagues conclude.

Press Release/Abstract - Mugo
Press Release/Abstract - Beigi
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