Shahin Lockman, Assistant Professor in the Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases
Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases
Dates of Research:
September 11, 2000 — August 31, 2006
This study examines the approaches to perinatal HIV transmission prevention in Botswana, as well as studies of other aspects of HIV epidemiology and infant infectious disease morbidity and mortality. HIV-1 prevalence in Botswana among women of child-bearing age is 28-43% and greater than 33% of infants born to these women are likely to be infected. A significant percentage of these women may also transmit HIV to their infants via breast milk. Breast feeding is widely practiced throughout sub-Saharan Africa. The critical question that remains unanswered is the difference in rates of overall death and occurrence of infectious diseases among infants of HIV-positive mothers who are breast-fed while receiving prophylactic antiretrovirals versus those who are formula fed. The study seeks to answer this question as well as the cause of acute respiratory infection in HIV-infected infants and the efficacy of certain drugs administered to pregnant HIV-infected mothers and their infants. This study will be carried out in three towns in southeast Botswana as a collaborative effort between the Harvard AIDS Institute and the AIDS/STD Unit of Botswana. The final result of this study will be a decision analysis evaluating the optimal infant feeding strategy in Botswana and in similar settings with HIV prevalence and relatively high infant mortality rate from other infectious diseases.