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HIV testing in newborn babies

Dec 17, 1998

Hi Rick and staff... Im butting heads with my girlfriend about this question. Will a baby born to an HIV+ mother ALWAYS be + for the HIV antibody (not the virus)...

Thanks.. 2 PLWAS in disagreement

Response from Mr. Sowadsky

Thank you for your question. In most (if not all) cases, when a mother is HIV positive, her antibodies will go into the bloodstream of her baby during pregnancy. Because if this, if we do an antibody test on a baby soon after birth, the baby will test HIV positive, regardless of whether the baby is infected or not. Because of this, antibody testing in newborn babies is not a reliable way to determine if the baby is infected or not. For more information on this issue, read the posting Are babies tested for HIV at birth?. Please note: At the time this posting was written, HIV testing in newborn babies was not being done anywhere in the United States. Since that time, New York State has begun HIV testing in newborn babies.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to call the Centers for Disease Control at 1.800.232.4636 (Nationwide).

How often should a low risk person be tested?
Are urine tests more accurate than blood tests?

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