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What are the chances that my child is HIV negative?
Feb 9, 2003

My wife and I just had our first kid three weeks ago. About 8 hours after the c-section, we were informed that because the doctor had an accidental needle prick, some blood work was done for my wife and it came back positive for HIV. My son was immediately put on AZT and will continue until he is 6 weeks old. He is also scheduled to see a pediatrics infectious disease specialist shortly. What are his chances. A few days after his birth, I was tested and it came back negative. I am schedule to be re-tested in a few months. Besides being nervous and confused, I am also angry because my wife signed an HIV release form durning one of her numerous pre-natal visits. We were told by her HMO that they don't show any record that an HIV test was done.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

First off, make sure your wife does not breast feed the baby. Second, both your wife and baby will need to be seen by an HIV/AIDS specialist ASAP. Next, get a copy of your wife's medical record, including the HIV release form, and consider contacting a lawyer. There are a variety of legal services available to HIV-positive folks to help in HIV/AIDS discrimination and medical malpractice issues. I'm not sure where you live, but in many locations, pregnant women must be offered an HIV test, and if they agree, the test must be run by law! The HMO could clearly be at fault here, either by oversight or by trying to contain costs.

What are your child's chances of being HIV-positive? It's impossible to say without knowing more about your wife's HIV disease, her viral load during pregnancy, whether or not she breast fed, complications during delivery, etc. Statistically, prior to the advent of potent anti-HIV drugs, approximately 25 percent of infants acquired the infection from their HIV-positive moms. This would be a general statistic and perhaps worse case scenario. What is particularly egregious in your case is that with proper care and medications, the risk of mother-to-child HIV transmission would have been only 1 percent! Your anger is justified. I hope and pray your child is indeed HIV negative. Either way, the HMO, if responsible, should be held accountable. Get the help you need, both legal and medical, right away. There should be absolutely no delay in getting your wife and child evaluated by HIV/AIDS experts.

Dr. Bob


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