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Your Advice
Nov 8, 2001

Why the hell would an expecting mother, married for 10 years be advised to test for HIV?

Just imagine if she turned up positive for any number of reasons (currently over 80). She may be advised to abort the fetus, take toxic AZT or better still, jeopardize the health of her unborn child. Don't forget to tell the crowd here about the birth defects these wonder drugs cause.

Caio.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello "Caio,"

(or was that just a misspelling of "Ciao"?)

I think you may be a bit unclear on the concept here. All pregnant women in the US are offered an HIV test and I recommend they take it. The woman in question was concerned enough to write to me. "10 years of marriage" is certainly no guarantee against HIV infection. I'm not at all sure where you came up with the "over 80" reasons for a positive test, unless you are reading some archaic literature. The tests used today for HIV are extremely accurate and false positive tests on initial screening ELISAs would be quickly noted on confirmatory Western Blots or PCRs. Abortion for HIV-positive pregnant women hasn't been recommended since the very earliest days of the epidemic. Vertical transmission (from mother to fetus) can be drastically reduced by using appropriate antiviral medications. In developing countries, where these medications are not available, 1,800 infected infants are born each day. In developed countries with access to the drugs, that number has dropped to a few hundred per year. AZT is not toxic if appropriately prescribed and monitored. It alone can reduce vertical transmission by 66%. Regarding birth defects, yes, certain drugs such as Sustiva shouldn't be used during pregnancy, but this information is common knowledge among HIV treaters. As to "jeopardizing the health of her unborn child," I hope you can now see that would occur if she didn't recognize her HIV status or take measures to reduce the risk of transmitting the virus to her child. Check the other forums and links on this website. You have much to learn about HIV, its transmission, and the remarkable advances made in treatment.

Thanks for your comments.

CIAO

Dr. Bob


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