Tag Archives: PMTCT

HIV-Exposure and Infant Mortality in Botswana

By Martha Henry

The AIDS epidemic has had a devastating impact on child survival in sub-Saharan Africa. In Botswana, under-five mortality almost doubled from 1990 to 2000. Since then, remarkable progress has been made to prevent pregnant HIV-positive mothers from passing the virus to their infants, either in utero or through breastfeeding. Yet in a study published this July in BMC Pediatrics, Harvard AIDS Initiative (HAI) researchers found that HIV-exposed or infected children in Botswana account for more than half of deaths in children younger than two. Continue reading

The Future of Nigeria’s Response to HIV: Q&A with Dr. Oluwatobi Victor Popoola

Young women in Abuja, Nigeria.

By Belinda O’Donnell

From June to August, I was a peer collaborator for the Mandela Washington Fellows, based at Howard University in Washington D.C. There I met the remarkable Dr. Victor Popoola, an HIV clinician and 2016 Fellow.

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Roger Shapiro Appointed Associate Professor

Dr. Roger Shapiro


Congratulations to Roger Shapiro, a key member of the Harvard AIDS Initiative team, for his recent appointment as an Associate Professor of Immunology and Infectious Diseases at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. In the announcement letter below, Dean Frenk lays out Shapiro’s research accomplishments to date.

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HEU Infants: How Big and Bad Is the Problem?

Mother and Child
©iStock.com/MShep2

By Martha Henry

Imagine that you’re a young woman in southern Africa, giving birth to the child you’ve carried for nine months. Between the pain and the pushing, you feel both excitement and dread. At the antenatal clinic several months ago, you learned that you were infected with HIV. The doctor gave you antiretroviral (ARV) drugs to prevent your child from being born with HIV. You pray that they worked.

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Q&A with Max Essex: Infants and HIV

Max Essex photo Kent Dayton

For over 20 years, the Harvard AIDS Initiative (HAI) has been conducting research on how best to care for mothers with HIV and their children. Martha Henry, Editor of Spotlight, sat down with Dr. Max Essex, Chair of HAI, to review the progress made and the challenges remaining. Continue reading

Kate Powis: Plan C

Kate Powis in a maternity ward in Boston

By Martha Henry

Plan A
As a young adult, Kate Powis loved to solve puzzles. Her father was a Secret Service agent and she planned to follow in his footsteps. She took college courses in criminal justice, financing her education by working as a “loss prevention” officer at a chain of department stores. She questioned shoplifters and employees caught stealing, but she didn’t enjoy the work. She often found herself in tears following an interrogation. “At the end of the day, I needed to be doing something more positive,” she said. Continue reading

Stunning Results in Protecting Infants

Roger Shapiro in front of the Mma Bana Clinic. Photo by Ryan Louis Hurley
Roger Shapiro at the Mma Bana Clinic. Photo by Ryan Hurley

The Mma Bana Study, led by Dr. Roger Shapiro, an infectious disease specialist at the Harvard AIDS Initiative (HAI), compared three different drug regimens to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV though pregnancy, delivery and six months of breastfeeding. Continue reading