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Tyra Banks Question + Donation
Jun 24, 2009

Really quick doctor... I was just watching the Tyra Banks show, and there was a woman who said her mom adopted a child that was born HIV+ then at the age of 2 years old,tested Negative for HIV. Is this possible?

Thanks for your time, and insight :)

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

The youngster may have been born HIV-antibody positive, but he was never HIV infected! Here's what happened. The mother was HIV infected and obviously HIV-antibody positive. An HIV-infected mother's anti-HIV antibodies can and do cross the placenta and enter her baby's blood. However, only the antibodies, not the virus, cross the placenta! Antibodies are circulating proteins made by the body's immune system in response to a stimulus (such as a virus or bacteria, etc.). These antibodies are not infectious and can remain in the baby's blood for many months (up to 18 months). And therefore during this period the baby will test HIV-antibody positive (HIV+), even though the infant is not HIV infected. The baby will test HIV-antibody negative after 18 months. It's unfortunate that the Tyra Banks show didn't explain this often confusing topic to its audience! I'll reprint below a post from the archives that addresses this topic.

Dr. Bob

Seeking to have a baby Jun 16, 2009

My wife and i are both HIV +ve and we would like to have a baby (no point in sperm washing I guess). If we managed to have a baby that is HIV -ve I understand that the baby will test +ve due to antibodies. I would like to know if this +ve test with zero viral load will remain so for the baby's life or will the antibodies leave the baby's system later in life?

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

The anti-HIV antibodies in an HIV-uninfected infant born to an HIV-positive mother are antibodies (blood proteins) that were transferred from mother to infant through the placenta. They are in essence the mother's antibodies passively transmitted to the infant. They will not persist. Ultimately the infant will test HIV-antibody negative. The maternal antibodies may persist for up to 18 months. After 18 months an HIV-negative infant born to an HIV-positive mother should test HIV negative.

Dr. Bob



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