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Birth mother is HIV+
Jun 24, 2002

We have been chosen by a HIV+ birth mother to adopt her baby. She has been on AZT since 30 weeks (she is now 32 weeks pregnant). We have three children also. What are the chances of the baby getting HIV/AIDS. What are the risks for our other children and us? I am really green and grasping for information. What kinds of precautions would we need to take in the babies care etc? Thank you so much.

Response from Dr. Luzuriaga

In the absence of antiretroviral therapy, 25-30 % (that is, 25-30 out of 100) women will transmit the virus to their baby. The risk of transmission is affected by many factors, but the most important are maternal viral load and maternal therapy. The risk of transmission increases as maternal viral load increases; if maternal viral load is undetectable, the risk of transmission is less than 1%. Maternal therapy is highly protective.

It sounds as if the birth mother is in HIV care and on therapy, which will minimize the risk of passing the infection to the baby. Therapy for the baby (at least AZT) will also be important to minimize the risk of HIV infection of the baby.

I would urge you to read all that you can to learn about mother-to-child transmission. A good place to start is the"Guidelines for the Use of Antiretroviral Agents During pregnancy", available on this web site in the "Treatment Guidelines" section.

With regards to your family's safety, it sounds as if the likelihood of infection of the baby will be low. Even if the baby is infected, however, there is very little risk to your family. HIV has only VERY rarely been transmitted in a family setting. There are several good sources of information on this web site regarding HIV transmission (See HIV in General).

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