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HIV:IMPLICATIONS FOR PREGNANCY AND THE NEWBORN
Apr 10, 2000

WHAT ARE THE RISKS OF BEING HIV-POSITIVE, PREGNANT, AND NOT RECEIVING HIV TREATMENT? OR HOW SAFE IS THE UNBORN CHILD OR THE INFANT OF THE HIV-POSITIVE WOMAN?

I AM A STUDENT HEALTH EDUCATOR.

Response from Dr. Luzuriaga

The risk of transmitting HIV from a woman to her infant ("vertical transmission") is approximately 25-30%, if mom and baby do not receive antiviral therapy. The risk of transmission may be even higher, when a woman's CD4 count is low or her blood viral load is high. Antiviral therapy of HIV positive women and their infants can markedly reduce the risk of HIV transmission and is therefore recommended in order to optimize maternal health and to prevent HIV transmission to the baby.

Several excellent reviews on vertical transmission, along with recommended guidelines for care of HIV positive women and their infants are provided in "Treatment Issues for Pregnancy and Newborns" on this web site. Links to organizations providing educational materials are also provided.

Katherine Luzuriaga, M.D.


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