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Issue No. 14 | March 27, 2009

News and Features

Most Recent Version of the Guidelines for Treatment and Prevention of Opportunistic Infections Published in the MMWR

"This report updates and combines earlier versions of guidelines for the prevention and treatment of opportunistic infections (OIs) in HIV-infected adults (i.e., persons aged [18 years or younger]) and adolescents (i.e., persons aged 13--17 years), last published in 2002 and 2004, respectively....Topic areas covered for each OI include epidemiology, clinical manifestations, diagnosis, prevention of exposure; prevention of disease by chemoprophylaxis and vaccination; discontinuation of primary prophylaxis after immune reconstitution; treatment of disease; monitoring for adverse effects during treatment; management of treatment failure; prevention of disease recurrence; discontinuation of secondary prophylaxis after immune reconstitution; and special considerations during pregnancy.

Major changes in the guidelines include 1) greater emphasis on the importance of antiretroviral therapy for the prevention and treatment of OIs, especially those OIs for which no specific therapy exists; 2) information regarding the diagnosis and management of immune reconstitution inflammatory syndromes; 3) information regarding the use of interferon-gamma release assays for the diagnosis of latent Mycobacterium tuberculosis (TB) infection; 4) updated information concerning drug interactions that affect the use of rifamycin drugs for prevention and treatment of TB; 5) the addition of a section on hepatitis B virus infection; and 6) the addition of malaria to the list of OIs that might be acquired during international travel."

Study: Interuption of Antiretroviral Treatment During Pregnancy May Increase Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV-1

"There is currently an experts' agreement discouraging interruption of antiretroviral treatment (ART) during the first trimester of pregnancy in women infected with human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1). However, this recommendation is poorly supported by data. We evaluated the effects of discontinuing ART during pregnancy on the rate of mother-to-child transmission. Discontinuing ART during pregnancy increases the rate of mother-to-child transmission of HIV-1, either when ART is stopped in the first trimester and subsequently restarted or when it is interrupted in the third trimester. This finding supports recommendations to continue ART in pregnant women who are already receiving treatment for their health."

Study: Lower CD4 Counts in HIV Seroconverters Suggests HIV has Become More Virulent

"Whether human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) seroconverters have been presenting with progressively lower CD4 cell counts over the course of the HIV epidemic is controversial. Additional data on whether HIV might have become more virulent on a population level (measured by post-seroconversion CD4 cell counts) may provide important insights regarding HIV pathogenesis. A significant decrease in initial CD4 cell counts among HIV seroconverters in the United States has occurred during the HIV epidemic. These data provide an important clinical correlate to suggestions that HIV may have adapted to the host, resulting in a more virulent infection."