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chances of vertical transmission
Jul 28, 2004

I know that an infant has a low chance of becoming infected during pregnancy and/or childbirth, but I am curious to know why that percentage isn't much higher since the infant and mother share their fluids during pregnancy. Why is a child not automatically at a high-risk for vertical transmission of HIV if mother is HIV+?

Response from Dr. Sullivan

The uterus and amniotic sac that surrounds the infant acts as a barrier to infection; if a woman has a high viral load, HIV may get across this barrier; this accounts for the minority of vertical transmission[5-8%] and occurs in the second and third trimesters; the majority of vertical transmission occurs when the infant is exposed to virus in the genital secretions and mothers blood during the birth process or when the infant is ingesting virus in mothers milk during breast feeding; JLS.


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