Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Mother-to-child HIV transmission rate falling, but more can be done

Transmission of HIV to children before or at birth has dropped dramatically around the country in the last decade since the advent of powerful new therapies. That certainly is true for Florida, where each year, fewer than 10 babies are born with the disease despite the fact that more than 600 HIV-positive women each year, on average, give birth.

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!
Further information:

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Diagnoses: When Are Several Opinions Better Than One?
19.07.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht High in calories and low in nutrients when adolescents share pictures of food online
07.04.2016 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>