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hiv transmission in utero
Mar 28, 2001

Can you please detail how a baby can be infected with hiv in the uterus, as noted in one of your previous answers, during the 2nd & 3rd trimester? What specifically are the risks during delivery, would it have to be a skin trauma to the baby for hiv to be transmitted. Also, is the amniotic fluid a possible source of transmission, i.e. would baby swallowing any of that while in utero be at risk of getting hiv?


Response from Dr. Sullivan

The mechanism of how HIV crosses the placenta is unclear at present; we do know that high viral load is a predisposing factor; infection during the birth process[intrapartum infection] probably ocurrs when the baby is exposed to virus in the maternal genital tract or maternal blood; virus is probably transmitted to the infant through swallowing or through the conjunctiva of the eyes; the amniotic fluid is not thought to be a source of HIV infection in most instances;JLS.

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