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Medicines and Therapeutics Research: Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) Therapeutics


An estimated 35 million people worldwide are living with HIV, including about one million pregnant women who need treatment to prevent mother-to-child transmission of the virus during pregnancy, labor, and delivery. Azidothymidine (AZT), the first FDA-approved anti-HIV agent, is often combined with other HIV drugs that target different aspects of viral replication. Because HIV drugs are administered in combination, NTP is studying commonly used combinations (AZT, nevirapine, nelfinavir and/or lamivudine) to characterize any potential toxicity to the offspring.

The World Health Organization has recommended the triple combination of tenofovir (TDF), emtricitabine (FTC), and efavirenz (EFV) as standard therapy for all HIV-positive individuals. While there is great benefit from this therapy, potential toxicity for the offspring is not known. NTP is conducting studies to determine the potential effect of the TDF, FTC, and EFV triple combination therapy on fetal and postnatal development. The results of these studies can inform regulatory agencies worldwide of the impact on these drugs during pregnancy.

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