New study suggests risk of birth defects in babies born to women on HIV medicine dolutegravir

European Medicines Agency, 18/05/2018

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) is evaluating preliminary results from a study which found 4 cases of birth defects such as spina bifida (malformed spinal cord) in babies born to mothers who became pregnant while taking dolutegravir. While EMA is assessing the new evidence it has issued the following precautionary advice:

  • Dolutegravir HIV medicines should not be prescribed to women seeking to become pregnant.
  • Women who can become pregnant should use effective contraception while taking dolutegravir medicines.

The study, which looked at babies born to 11,558 HIV-infected women in Botswana, showed that 0.9% of babies (4 of 426) whose mothers became pregnant while taking dolutegravir had a neural tube defect, compared with 0.1% of babies (14 of 11,173) whose mothers took other HIV medicines. Final results are expected in about a year.

Women who have been prescribed dolutegravir should not stop taking their medicine without first consulting their doctor.

EMA will update the recommendations as necessary when it concludes its assessment.

Poorer outcomes for babies born to teen mums – often linked to low socioeconomic status

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare,  02 May 2018

Babies of teenage mothers often experience poorer health outcomes than babies born to women just a few years older, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s (AIHW) first report on this subject.

The report, Teenage mothers in Australia 2015, shows that about 8,200 teenage mothers gave birth to 8,300 babies (3% of all babies) in 2015, down from 11,800 teenage mothers giving birth a decade earlier. Almost three-quarters of teenage mothers were aged 18 or 19.

One in 4 (24%) of all teenage mothers were Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander. Indigenous teenage mothers had higher levels of antenatal risk factors and poorer baby outcomes than non-Indigenous teenage mothers in terms of pre-term birth
and low birthweight.

 

Stillbirth more frequent in women with HIV in UK than in general population

nam/aidsmap, 01 August 2017

The stillbirth rate among women living with HIV in the UK and Ireland from 2007 to 2015 was more than twice that of the general population, Graziella Favarato, presenting on behalf of the National Study of HIV in Pregnancy and Childhood (NSHPC), told participants at the 9th International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Science (IAS 2017) in Paris last week.

Most women originated from a sub-Saharan African country, accounting for 0.9% of stillbirths (71/7752) while stillbirth among women from Europe or westernised countries accounted for 0.4% (8/2004).

New class of antibiotic raises hopes for urgently-needed gonorrhoea drug

The Guardian, Tuesday 8 August 2017 

A new class of antibiotic has been found to work in the lab against the sexually transmitted infection gonorrhoea, which can cause infertility and damage to babies and is fast becoming resistant to all existing drugs.

Although it is early days, because the antibiotic has yet to be tried in animals or humans, researchers say they are excited by its potential.

Child Living with HIV Maintains Remission Without Drugs Since 2008

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), July 24, 2017

A nine-year-old South African child who was diagnosed with HIV infection at one month of age and received anti-HIV treatment during infancy has suppressed the virus without anti-HIV drugs for eight and a half years, scientists reported today at the 9th IAS Conference on HIV Science in Paris. This case appears to be the third reported instance of sustained HIV remission in a child after early, limited anti-HIV treatment.

Syphilis Outbreak in Northern South Australia

SA Health, Communicable Disease Control Branch (CDCB),15/5/17

The Communicable Disease Control Branch (CDCB) has been closely monitoring infectious syphilis notifications in South Australia in light of a multi-jurisdictional outbreak of syphilis occurring across northern Australia. It appears that this outbreak has spread to South Australia, with sustained transmission occurring in Port Augusta, and there is the potential for spread to other regions of South Australia.