Up to one-half of youth infected with HIV around the time of birth may not have sufficient immunity to ward off measles, mumps, and rubella—even though they may have been vaccinated against these diseases, according to a new estimate from the National Institutes of Health.
It is based on a study of more than 600 children and youth exposed to HIV in the womb, said George Siberry, medical officer in the Maternal and Pediatric Infectious Disease Branch of NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).
“Having a high level of immunity to measles, mumps, and rubella is important not only for an individual’s health, but also for preventing disease outbreaks in the larger community,” Siberry said. “Individuals infected with HIV at birth who did not have the benefit of combined antiretroviral therapy before they were vaccinated should speak with their physician about whether they need a repeated course of the vaccine.”
From 2007-2009, the researchers enrolled children ages 7 to 15 from 15 sites across the United States and Puerto Rico. Participants were part of the Pediatric HIV/AIDS Cohort Study (PHACS), an NIH-funded follow-up study of individuals exposed to HIV in the womb.
On average, the HIV-exposed children were much less likely to have protective levels of antibodies against measles, mumps, and rubella than did the control group. HIV-exposed children who started combined antiretroviral therapy before receiving their MMR vaccine doses were more likely to have protective levels of antibodies against all three diseases.