July 14, 2022

Preventing HIV in Pregnant Women and Infants: A family-based approach

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Chi 2016 1Benjamin Chi, M.D., MScThe Mary Heersink Institute for Global Health and the Sparkman Center for Global Health hosted a joint seminar given by Benjamin Chi, M.D., MSc on July 1.

Chi is a professor and vice chair of Research and Innovation in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The seminar, titled “Preventing HIV in Pregnant Women and Infants: A family-based approach,” drew on global HIV, maternal, and child health work by Chi and others during the past two decades, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa.

HIV in pregnant women and infants

Chi discussed maternal HIV infection and factors that drive lifetime morbidity and mortality for the mother and infant.  With test and treat and PrEP, Chi highlighted opportunities to promote interventions to reduce HIV transmission to partners and offspring while promoting the health of women.

A family-based approach to prevention

Chi shared that comprehensive, combination strategies involving personalized treatment options can lead to greater reductions in incident HIV in the context of pregnancy and breastfeeding. This approach includes counseling and testing to determine the HIV status of the mother and their partner while offering support and linkages to care. Creative and promising interdisciplinary approaches include an HIV “status neutral” approach to testing, treatment, and prevention integrated within existing health systems.

The presentation also drew attention to opportunities to grow global health capacity and partnerships through NIH D43, T32 funding, and creative cross-pollination.

If involved with this field or interested in a global approach, contact the Mary Heersink Institute for Global Health to learn more about possible connections and funding opportunities.