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Antiretrovirals Important To Protect HIV-Positive Children From Measles

Scientific American looks at the possible link between HIV prevalence and a recent increase in the number of children dying from measles in sub-Saharan Africa. “Studies show that infants with HIV do not respond well to the measles vaccine even when given a second dose at nine months, as the World Health Organization (WHO) currently recommends,” the article notes.

However, “HIV-infected children can develop immunity to measles if they receive antiretroviral therapy before vaccination.” Only 33 percent of HIV-positive children in a Kenya study who had received a measles vaccine at birth still had antibodies to the disease at age five. But “[w]hen the HIV-infected five-year-olds in the Kenya study were revaccinated after six months of antiretroviral treatment, their measles immunity rose to 78 percent,” according to Scientific American (Westly, 5/12).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.