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Does my baby have a chance of being infected with HIV?
Oct 23, 2005

My husband and I are adopting a baby whose mother has HIV and is a carrier of Hepatitus C. The mother was put in AZT 3 hours before planned c-section. The baby is also on AZT for the first 6 weeks of her life. What are the chances that she would have contracted HIV or Hepatitus C or both from her birthmother? They did a regular HIV test and a DNA HIV test on her. From what I have been told, the tests will more than likely come back positive because of the mother's antibodies. Does she have a good chance of them clearing up and being negative when she's around 18 months old?

Response from Dr. Luzuriaga

In the absence of any treatment, about 25-30% of babies will acquire the infection from their mother. Treatment of the mother and baby with ZDV will definitely reduce the risk of HIV transmission but will not reduce the risk of HCV transmission. Overall, only about 5% of mothers with hepatitis C virus infection will pass the virus to the baby. At present, we do not have any studies that demonstrate the efficacy of antivirals in preventing HHCV transmission.

During the last trimester (last 3 months) of pregnancy, women transfer antibodies to their babies. So, if your baby was born at term, she will be HIV and HCV antibody positive and uninfected babies may take up to 18 months to clear these antibodies from their blood. So, under the age of 18 months, antibodies can not be used to diagnose infection in children and the use of a technique called "PCR", which looks for viral nucleic acids is recommended. If a non-breastfed baby has negative HIV PCR tests through 6 months, that baby is uninfected. We usually do HCV RNA PCR testing at 6 weeks and 6 months; if testing is negative, we would consider the baby uninfected.


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