Still, more can be done to even further reduce the number of babies born with the disease, say pediatric HIV experts at the University of Florida who this week presented their work during the 18th International AIDS conference in Vienna, Austria.
"This is one of those diseases for which we learned how to prevent transmission. We need to make full use of this method and our energies need to be focused on the effort," said lead researcher Dr. Mobeen Rathore, a professor and chief of pediatric infectious diseases and immunology at the University of Florida College of Medicine-Jacksonville, and director of the UF Center for HIV/AIDS Research, Education and Service.
Around the United States, the decreasing number of pediatric infections is a direct result of the advent of powerful anti-HIV therapies in the mid-1990s and the establishment of protocols by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to treat pregnant women who are infected, and their babies.
Increased HIV-testing outreach and education efforts have also paid off. And CDC guidelines for "opt-out" HIV-testing for pregnant women mean testing is a routine part of their care, and women would have to specifically decline it. Rapid testing during labor and delivery gives one last chance to administer therapies that can prevent transmission.
In Florida, the Targeted Outreach for Pregnant Women Act of 1998 was enacted to help improve prenatal care and reduce the number of babies with HIV or prenatal drug exposure.
After New York, Florida has the second highest number of babies born to HIV-positive women. The state began monitoring the number of HIV-exposed babies in 2006. Up to 2008, a total of 2,374 cases of pediatric HIV/AIDS have been reported in Florida. So far this year, just one case has been reported.
"The reduction of mother-to-child HIV transmission is one of the biggest success stories of the HIV epidemic," said Thomas Liberti, chief of the bureau of HIV/AIDS in the Florida Department of Health. "The question is, 'How low can we go?'"
The UF researchers teamed with colleagues in the Florida Department of Health Perinatal Prevention Division to review pediatric HIV data for the period from 2002-09, and found 102 cases.
Despite the many effective measures in place to help prevent HIV-transmission to babies, there are missed opportunities, the researchers found.
Mothers of half of the infected babies tested positive for HIV before becoming pregnant. But some refused or neglected to take the medications that could have kept their babies HIV-free. Some had no prenatal care, and so did not receive available treatments.
Some women were HIV-negative at the start of their pregnancy, but became infected afterward. Others were diagnosed with HIV only after the birth of their babies. Repeat testing during pregnancy and rapid testing during labor and delivery would have alerted health care providers.
The study shows that for some women, the issue might not be a lack of availability of medical services. Mental illness, intravenous drug use and incarceration and other risk factors associated with increased risk of HIV infection affected about one-third of the women who delivered infected babies. Mental health and substance abuse issues often prevent women from taking advantage of medical care or adhering to a treatment regimen prescribed by their physicians.
Finding creative ways to address issues such as the shortage of mental health-care providers will help women and their babies get needed care, the researchers said.
The health department has already begun discussions with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to discuss steps that can be taken to further reduce mother to child HIV transmission.
"Many of our patients have mental health and other life issues, so if we do not address them, the treatment protocol will not be effective," Rathore said. "This is an intervention that has the opportunity to work better."
Czerne M. Reid | EurekAlert!
WAKE-UP provides new treatment option for stroke patients | International study led by UKE
17.05.2018 | Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf
First form of therapy for childhood dementia CLN2 developed
25.04.2018 | Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf
The more electronics steer, accelerate and brake cars, the more important it is to protect them against cyber-attacks. That is why 15 partners from industry and academia will work together over the next three years on new approaches to IT security in self-driving cars. The joint project goes by the name Security For Connected, Autonomous Cars (SecForCARs) and has funding of €7.2 million from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Infineon is leading the project.
Vehicles already offer diverse communication interfaces and more and more automated functions, such as distance and lane-keeping assist systems. At the same...
A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.
The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...
At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.
At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...
There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?
At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...
So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics
Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...
25.05.2018 | Event News
02.05.2018 | Event News
13.04.2018 | Event News
25.05.2018 | Event News
25.05.2018 | Machine Engineering
25.05.2018 | Life Sciences