Pre-exposure prophylaxis for HIV prevention during pregnancy and lactation: forget not the women and children

Lisa Horgan, Christopher C. Blyth, Asha C. Bowen, David A. Nolan, Andrew P. McLean-Tooke

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Pregnancy is known to be a time of increased susceptibility to acquiring to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection and this increased maternal risk places the unborn child at risk of vertical transmission. Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) involves the provision of antiretroviral therapy to an HIV-negative individual with ongoing risk of HIV exposure to limit the likelihood of HIV transmission. The inclusion of PrEP as part of a comprehensive strategy is recognised as an effective and safe means of reducing HIV infection in serodiscordant couples, thereby reducing the risk of vertical transmission of HIV. Current data suggest that PrEP is safe to continue during pregnancy and breastfeeding in HIV-negative women who remain vulnerable to acquiring HIV. The recent Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme subsidisation of PrEP has reduced the financial and practical obstacles of PrEP provision, and a subsequent increase in patient awareness and acceptance of PrEP is expected. The framework for appropriately identifying and managing at-risk pregnant and lactating women requiring PrEP is poorly defined and warrants further clarification to better support clinicians and this patient group. This review discusses the current recommendations highlighting the gaps in the guidelines and makes some recommendations for future guideline development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)281-284
Number of pages4
JournalMedical Journal of Australia
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019


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