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International News

Scotland: Big Rise in Pregnant Women With HIV

April 23, 2003

The number of pregnant women diagnosed with HIV in Scotland almost doubled last year, bringing the infection rate to an all-time high. The number infected through intravenous drug use, however, dropped to zero in the first three months of this year. The latest figures show that 30 expectant mothers tested positive in 2002, compared with 16 in 2001 and 25 in 2000. The annual average in the preceding five years had been 14. Experts suggested that the jump reflected an overall increase in the number of people who had been infected abroad.

The biggest increases took place in Tayside and greater Glasgow. The figures represent a rate of 5.8 per 100,000 population, the highest since monitoring began and more than double the average during the mid- to late 1990s. A total of 51,291 pregnant women were tested through the year, in most cases anonymously for HIV surveillance. However, this year the National Health Service in Scotland began offering all pregnant women an HIV test, which could determine individually whether they were infected. All 14 Glasgow-area cases were individually diagnosed.

As a result of the new testing policy, more than 90 percent of all new HIV cases are expected to be diagnosed individually. Identifying infected women individually allows them to be given antiretroviral drugs before delivery in order to reduce risk of mother-to-child HIV transmission.

Of the 19 women individually diagnosed, only three were known to have originated from African countries. Of the other 16, eight were of British and eight of unknown origin. In general, about two-thirds of heterosexual infections in Scotland are presumed to have occurred abroad, and this has continued into the first three months of this year. Of the first quarter's total HIV cases, 22 were male, 15 were female, 14 cases were transmitted homosexually, 18 heterosexually, and three were undetermined.

Back to other CDC news for April 23, 2003

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Adapted from:
Herald (Glasgow)
04.19.03; Alan Macdermid

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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.
See Also
More HIV Statistics on the United Kingdom