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Mark Powell, HIV Case Manager
Jan 18, 2004

How come HIV does not automatically cross the placenta during pregnancy?

Response from Dr. Sullivan

HIV transmission from a pregnant woman to her baby occurs 25% of the time in a woman not receiving treatment; the virus crosses the placent to infect the fetus 5-8% of the time; the placenta is an effective barrier against many infections, however this barrier can be overcome with very high viral loads and this appears to ocurr predominantly in the last trimester; the remaining 17-20% of infections ocurr when the baby is exposed to virus in the vaginal secretions during labor and delivery and is also related to high viral loads; JLS.


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