Before 1994, between 25% and 35% of infants born to HIV-positive mothers became HIV positive themselves. But a landmark NICHD-led study1 published that year showed that the risk of mother-to-child transmission could be greatly reduced with antiretroviral therapy (ART).
The Pediatric HIV/AIDS Cohort Study (PHACS) network was established in 2005. It addresses two critical pediatric HIV research questions:
- the long-term safety of fetal and infant exposure to prophylactic antiretroviral (ART) chemotherapy; and
- the effects of perinatally acquired HIV infection in adolescents and young adults.
The goals of the PHACS network are:
- Create a body of data to understand more fully the effect of HIV on sexual maturation, pubertal development, and socialization of perinatally HIV-infected pre-adolescents, adolescents, and young adults;
- Acquire more definitive information regarding long-term safety of antiretroviral agents when used during pregnancy and in newborns;
- Ensure a mechanism is in place to estimate the upper bounds of risk for children associated with the use of antiretrovirals in their HIV-infected pregnant mothers as recommended in the Public Health Service Guidelines to prevent perinatal HIV transmission; and
- Ensure that the follow-up of these populations continues.