What is infant prophylaxis?
Infant prophylaxis (or enhanced postnatal prophylaxis) is a type of PEP that can be given to babies to reduce the likelihood of them getting HIV. Infant prophylaxis will only be given to babies with a higher risk of infection. This includes where mothers have acquired HIV during pregnancy or breastfeeding, been diagnosed late or who have struggled with adherence and have a high viral load.
Most babies will be given a combination of zidovudine (AZT) and navirapine (NVP) for six weeks after birth. For babies who are breastfeeding this will be continued for an additional 6 weeks. Those who are not breastfed will move on to AZT alone for the last 6 weeks.
After this point the mother's viral load should be low enough for a baby to continue to feed, without needing any extra protection.
It's important that once a baby stops infant prophylaxis that they do not start it again, even if the mother's viral load increases. Instead she should get the support of healthcare workers to adhere to treatment and overcome any barriers to adherence.
How can I support my baby's growth in the first 3 years?
A baby's brain develops the fastest in their first 1,000 days after being born (roughly the first 3 years). Babies grow best when they have all the things listed below.
1. Healthcare - poor health can affect a baby's early development. Making sure that they have what they need to stay healthy, including immunizations and treatment for any illnesses will make sure that poor health doesn't hold back their development.
2. Nutrition - your baby needs the right food to grow. Breastmilk is able to give babies all the nutrients they need to develop in the first 6 months. You may decide to breastfeed for longer than this.
3. Protection - safe and nurturing environments, where babies are given lots of love from their families are the best for their development. Being exposed to violence, neglect or conflict can reduce a baby's ability to grow healthily.
4. Responsive caregiving - play and communication helps a baby's development. It's important for young babies to get the caring attention they need from adults. Smiling, eye contact, talking and singing all help your baby to learn and grow.
5. Early learning - when children are older it's important that these learning opportunities continue. They should have access to preschool or other places where they can learn.