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HIV BABIES
Apr 19, 2003

CAN A BABY BORN HIV + TEST NEGATIVE LATER IN LIFE IF NOT BREAST FEED , IF NOT GIVEN THE AZT DRUGS & ALSO HOW DOES THE HIV VIRUS GET PASSED THROUGH BREAST MILK SINCE HIV CAN NOT BE PASSED THROUGH FEEDING AS THE VIRUS CANNOT SURVICE THE DIGESTIVE SYSTEM

Response from Dr. Jackson

All babies born to HIV infected women will initially test positive for HIV antibody because maternal HIV antibody crosses the placenta to the baby. However, even without the use of AZT or nevirapine or other antiretrovirals, only about 25% of non-breastfeeding babies will actually be HIV infected. Over the first few months of life the maternal HIV antibodies will disappear so that by 9 to 18 months of age the uninfected babies will test negative for HIV antibody. Infected babies will start to produce their own HIV antibodies within the first few months of life and therefore will persist as HIV antibody positive at 18 months of age. For this reason, HIV DNA or RNA PCR is used to diagnose HIV infection in infants less than 18 months of age because these tests directly detect the virus as opposed to antibody to HIV.

In breastfed babies of HIV infected women, transmission to the baby occurs at a rate of about 5-10% per year of breastfeeding and is highly dependent on the viral load of the mother. Transmission is thought to occur because the virus infects oral or esophageal muscosa prior to reaching the acid of the stomach.

BJ


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