Hesperian Health Guides

ART for babies to prevent HIV

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HealthWiki > Helping Children Live with HIV > Chapter 7: Prevention of HIV in children and mothers > ART for babies to prevent HIV


The mother being on ART helps protect her baby from HIV, but the baby needs ART too.

Give the baby both nevirapine and AZT for 6 weeks if:

  • the mother started taking ART less than 1 month before the birth.
  • the mother thinks she was infected with HIV during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
  • the mother has a lot of HIV in her blood (a viral load over 1000) or feels very sick.


If the mother is breastfeeding, give the baby medicine for 12 weeks, not just 6.Keep giving both nevirapine and AZT or give only nevirapine.

Give the baby only nevirapine for 6 weeks if:

  • The mother started taking ART before pregnancy or very early in the pregnancy.
  • The mother’s HIV is under good control.
  • The mother is breastfeeding.


If the mother is not breastfeeding, you can give the baby either AZT or nevirapine for 6 weeks. If for some reason you stop your ART while you are still breastfeeding, begin giving the baby nevirapine again. You can stop giving the baby nevirapine 6 weeks after you restart your ART, or a week after you stop breastfeeding.

HIV Ch7 Page 115-3.png   NBgrnspoon.png Nevirapine (NVP) Give nevirapine once a day
Age Weight of child Dose Side effects
Nevirapine comes as a liquid to give babies by mouth. 0 to 6 weeks less than 2 kg 2 mg per kg May cause rash.
2 to 2.5 kg 10 mg
more than 2.5 kg 15 mg
6 weeks to 6 months 20 mg
6 months to 9 months 30 mg
9 months until breastfeeding ends 40 mg

HIV Ch7 Page 115-3.png   NBgrnspoon.png

AZT Give AZT to the baby for 6 weeks
Age Weight of child Dose Side effects
NAZT comes as a liquid to give babies by mouth. 0 to 6 weeks less than 2 kg 2 mg per kg, once a day May cause anemia.
2 to 2.5 kg 10 mg, 2 times a day
more than 2.5 kg 15 mg, 2 times a day


This page was updated:27 Nov 2019