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Newborn Exposure to HIV
Dec 23, 1996

Hello. My husband and I are adopting a baby girl, 34 weeks gestation, healthy at birth, no abnormalities noted or present at this time, cultures neg, toxicology neg, herpes neg. Mom was HIV positive possible PCP dx, prolonged rupture of membranes >12 hrs, Herpes pos. AZT givin during last weeks of pregnancy, during delivery and imediately at birth. Can we get her tested for the antigen not antibody? what is the protocol? what are her chances and what are things to watch for in her development? We love her already just want to know what may lie ahead...

Response from Dr. Cohen

Good for you!

You should be able to have her tested for HIV infection using the HIV DNA PCR (the qualitative test, not the quantitative HIV RNA PCR), which will tell you whether she is infected. As you know, the standard antibody test will be positive regardless of whether she is infected. A pediatrician familiar with HIV infection should be able to help you sort this out. The fact that she and her mother were given AZT lowers her chances of being infected significantly.

Since the odds are good that she's HIV-negative, I won't discuss the alternative. If she is positive, you'll need more information than I can give you here, and I'm no expert on little ones.

Either way, congratulations on your new daughter. I wish you well.

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