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protocol 076 and infants
Nov 1, 2000

Why do infants who test positive at birth test negative 2 years later and some continue to test positive 2 years later?

Response from Dr. Sullivan

It is important to define what test is performed; if one is testing for antibody, all babies born to HIV infected mothers will test positive for antibody at birth because mothers antibodies are transmitted to the baby and these antibodies can persist up to 15 months of age; if a baby is HIV infected it will always be HIV antibody positive[ except in rare circumstances], if a baby is not HIV infected, the baby will become negative for HIV antibody by 15 months of age; we now use more sophisticated tests that detect the presence of HIV directly; these tests are called PCR tests and detect the nucleic acids of the virus; using these tests in babies born to HIV infected women, we can tell if a baby is infected or not by 6 weeks of age. JLS.

John L. Sullivan, M.D.


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