AIDS: birth transmission falls

October 1, 1999

Pharmaceutical Representative

Transmission of AIDS from mothers to their infants fell 67% between 1992 and 1997, according to an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Transmission of AIDS from mothers to their infants fell 67% between 1992 and 1997, according to an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association (vol. 282, no. 6).

Mary Lou Lindegren, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues analyzed national AIDS and HIV surveillance data through June 1998. In particular, the researchers studied the effects of the U.S. Public Health Service perinatal HIV recommendations on trends in incidence of perinatal AIDS and factors contributing to those trends.

The author found that rates of AIDS among infants declined 69% from 1992 to 1996, while births to HIV-infected women declined by only 17% from 1992 to 1995. According to the authors, the declines in perinatal AIDS were associated with an increase in the use of zidovudine (AZT) to reduce perinatal HIV transmission. The authors refuted claims that the decline can be written off as the result of reductions in the total number of births or the effect of new therapies in delaying AIDS.

In the article, the authors also suggest that to further reduce perinatal transmission, "we need comprehensive strategies to ensure access to prenatal care, HIV counseling and testing; therapy to reduce perinatal transmission; avoidance of breastfeeding; and appropriate treatment and services for mothers."

The authors concluded: "Prevention of HIV infection in women is the ultimate goal to further reduce perinatal HIV infection." PR