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about new born child of HIV postive mother
Aug 31, 2008

my sister is tested as positive HIV while admitted for delivery day before yesterday. the girl child born . My sister was never tested before. we are very much worried and want to know the chance of being infection to the child and the expected life span of the both and whether any feasibility in treatment for both my sister and the new born child. her husband is tested as negative . what is % if the child to get infected and also for AIDS for both mother and new born child.

Response from Dr. McGowan

I understand the stress you and your family must be under getting this information at the time your sister is giving birth. HIV can be transmitted from mother to child, but fortunately, most babies are not infected. About 1 out of every 3 to 4 newborns may be infected. Most transmission occurs at the time of delivery. Transmission is more if the mother has a high viral load in the blood (alot of virus in her blood circulation). Therefore, treatment of the mother starting in the second trimester of pregnancy to lower her viral burden can greatly decrease the chance of transmitting virus. Since your sister was not tested until labor she may still receive medication (AZT given intravenously) during labor and delivery. Your sister should not breastfeed (unless you live in an area without access to clean water and baby formula), this would prevent transmission of HIV in the breast milk. The newborn should receive HIV medications (at least AZT) for 4 weeks after birth. Your sister and her baby should do well if they have access to HIV treatment.

Best of luck,

Joe



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