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    Zika virus updates


    Study: Zika, HIV coinfection

    NIH study hopes to determine if presence of both diseases in pregnancy exacerbates the effects of either.

    The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has launched a prospective study to determine if coinfection with Zika virus and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in pregnant women increases the risk of mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) or exacerbates the effects of either disease on the child. This study was inspired by past research showing women with coinfections of syphilis and herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2) also demonstrated an increase in the number of fetal infections of HSV-2.

    Researchers from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development are concerned that treatment for Zika virus may interfere with the effectiveness of medications normally given to pregnant women to decrease the chance of MTCT. They also hope to document if coinfection increases risk of damage to the fetal brain, as seen with Zika.

    Recommended: Zika effects are more than microencephaly

    The study will consist of pregnant women infected with HIV or Zika virus alone or in combination, and women not infected with either virus. All women will be monitored throughout their pregnancies and for 6 months after birth. Their infants will be monitored for 1 year.

    Researchers hope that the results of their study will help guide patient care standards, especially in those areas where HIV infection is widespread. In addition, they hope to obtain information sufficient to determine whether other infections such as Dengue Fever or other flaviviruses may also potentiate the impact of Zika virus.

    The entire project is expected to run from 4 to 6 years and include 2000 women in the United States and Brazil.


    1. NIH launches prospective study of Zika and HIV co-infection during pregnancy. Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development website.

    2. Castles, T. NIH to Study Zika and HIV in Pregnant Women. Contagion Live, Infectious Diseases Today website. July 12, 2017.

    NEXT: Interim testing recommendations


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