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National News

Study: HIV Among US Newborns Drops

July 9, 2002

The number of infants born in the United States with HIV infection has declined by 80 percent during the last decade, new research shows. The progress is attributed to increased voluntary HIV counseling and testing of pregnant women and to the use of AIDS therapy, according to one of the study's investigators, CDC researcher Dr. Patricia Fleming.

The study estimated that about 325 American infants were born infected with HIV in 2000, compared with about 1,760 babies in 1991. That translates to a decrease of about 80 percent. In 2000, only 6 percent of infants born to HIV-positive women were born with the virus. Experts say the finding, presented this week at the 14th International AIDS Conference, represents a great success story in the battle to reduce the infection in the United States.

Between 1991 and 2000, the population of infected mothers surged from 80,000 to as many as 135,500, Fleming said. Advances in treatment methods, especially the use of drugs like Nevirapine to prevent mother-to-infant infections, have reduced the risk of transmission from 25 percent for untreated mothers to 2 percent for those taking combinations of AIDS drugs.

However, the CDC researchers cautioned that the increasing infection rates among US women will make eliminating transmission to newborns increasingly difficult. Fleming estimated that even with the best antiretroviral treatment, up to 130 infants would be infected each year. "The simple fact is that the best way to prevent new infections in babies is to prevent infections in women," she said.

Back to other CDC news for July 9, 2002

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Adapted from:
Associated Press
07.09.02; Jerome Socolovsky



  
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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
 

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