CSWG Policy Brief: Scaling up optimal antiretroviral treatment for children: A long overdue intervention

To achieve an AIDS-free generation, optimal treatment options for all infants and young children living with HIV must be available, tolerable and most importantly, effective. Since 2013, the WHO has recommended that all infants and children under three years initiate ritonavir-boosted lopinavir (LPV/r)-based regimens. However, the transition to preferred pediatric regimens has been slow, and one-third of children remain on a sub-optimal regimen of zidovudine (AZT), lamivudine (3TC) and nevirapine (NVP).

Only 20 percent receive the WHO preferred regimen despite resistance to non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs) becoming a major concern for infants and young children. While efavirenz (EFV) is increasingly used, NVP-based regimens are also very common in children older than three years. As a result, overall virological suppression reported in program settings continues to be sub-optimal and particularly poor in young children below five years.

This is part of a series of 12 policy briefs by the Child Survival Working Group on scaling up key interventions for children and adolescents living with HIV. Learn more.