Dr. Louise Kuhn is an epidemiologist who studies how the HIV epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa affects the health of women and children. Her research interests include the biological basis of HIV transmission from mother to child, including transmission through breastfeeding, and how maternal HIV infection may influence the health of even the uninfected child. A primary focus of her research is on breastfeeding, which presents a public health dilemma since it is both a potential source of HIV infection and a significant protector of maternal and child health. Her research interests also include how best to identify and treat HIV-infected infants and young children including addressing resistance to antiretroviral drugs and how to optimize treatment initiation in infancy. Further research is investigating how to improve cervical cancer prevention programs for HIV-infected and uninfected women in low resource settings.
Areas of Expertise
Breastfeeding, Child Health and Development, Infant Mortality, Global Health, Poverty, HIV/AIDS, Maternal-to-Child Transmission, Sexually Transmitted Infections
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Improving health of HIV-infected infants and children, South Africa: The pediatric HIV epidemic is not over. Sadly, infants in sub-Saharan Africa continue to acquire HIV infection from their mothers due to gaps and failings in prevention programs. Our work in South Africa focuses on how to improve prevention programs so that fewer infants acquire infection, how to improve diagnostic services so that HIV-infected infants are identified as early as possible and how to optimize care and treatment.
Breastfeeding and HIV, Zambia: Breastfeeding is of major global importance since the practice is both a potential source of HIV infection and a significant protector of maternal and infant health. Our work in Zambia and elsewhere has considered how to make breastfeeding safer without compromising other aspects of maternal and child health. We are studying how transmission occurs as well as how breastfeeding influences the health of women and young children in order to develop better interventions and programs.
Cervical cancer prevention, South Africa: Few women in low resources settings have access to cervical cancer screening. Our group is investigating how to make screening more accessible in these contexts by simplifying the process and using point of care HPV tests.
Coovadia A, Abrams EJ, Strehlau R, Shiau S, Pinillos F, Martens L, Patel F, Hunt G, Tsai WY, Kuhn L. Efavirenz-Based Antiretroviral Therapy Among Nevirapine-Exposed HIV-Infected Children in South Africa: A Randomized Clinical Trial JAMA. 2015 Nov 3;314(17):1808-17. doi: 10.1001/jama.2015.13631.
Kuhn L, Stein Z, Susser I. Are randomised controlled trials always required? Lancet HIV. 2015 Nov;2(11):e460-1. doi: 10.1016/S2352-3018(15)00212-X.
Kuhn L, Aldrovandi G. Pendulum swings in HIV and infant feeding policies: now half way back. Chapter in: HIV and Breastfeeding: Science, Research Advances and Policy (Eds) Kourtis AP, Bulterys M. Springer 2012
Kuhn L, Schramm DB, Shiau S, Strehlau R, Pinillos F, Technau K, Coovadia A, Abrams EJ, Puren A, Tiemessen CT. Young age at start of antiretroviral therapy and negative HIV antibody results in HIV-infected children when suppressed. AIDS. 2015 Jun 1;29(9):1053-60. doi: 10.1097/QAD.0000000000000677.
Kuhn, L, Kim, H.Y, Hsiao, L, Nissan, C, Kankasa, C. Mwiya, M, Thea, D,M, Aldrovandi, G.M. Bode, L. Oligosaccharide composition of breast milk influences survival of uninfected children born to HIV-infected mothers in Lusaka, Zambia. Journal of Nutrition 2015 Jan;145(1):66-72. doi: 10.3945/jn.114.199794. Epub 2014 Nov 19.
McDonald AC, Tergas AI, Kuhn L, Denny L, Wright TC Jr. Distribution of Human Papillomavirus Genotypes among HIV-Positive and HIV-Negative Women in Cape Town, South Africa Frontiers in Oncology. 2014 Mar 14;4:48. doi: 10.3389/fonc.2014.00048.
Kuhn L, Hunt G, Technau KG, Coovadia A, Ledwaba J, Pickerill S, Penazzato M, Bertagnolio S, Mellins CA, Black V, Morris L, Abrams EJ. Drug resistance among newly diagnosed HIV-infected children in the era of more efficacious antiretroviral prophylaxis. AIDS. 2014 Jul 17;28(11):1673-8. doi: 10.1097/QAD.0000000000000261.
Nyati M, Kim HY, Goga A, Violari A, Kuhn L, Gray G. Support for Relactation Among Mothers of HIV-Infected Children: A Pilot Study in Soweto. Breastfeeding Medicine. 2014 Nov;9:450-7. doi: 10.1089/bfm.2014.0049.
Kuhn L, Kim HY, Walter J, Thea DM, Sinkala M, Mwiya M, Kankasa C, Decker D, Aldrovandi GM. HIV-1 Concentrations in Human Breast Milk Before and After Weaning. Science Translational Medicine 2013;181ra51. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3005113.