Records Show Sharp Decrease In Number Of Babies Born With HIV In The US

By Claire Parker, Parent Herald March 21, 12:03 pm
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A mother holds her baby in an undated photo. There has been a decrease in the number of babies born with HIV in the United States.
(Photo : Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

From 2002 to 2013, records showed a sharp decrease in the number of babies born in the United States with HIV. Experts claimed more could be done in order to prevent babies from getting HIV.

The new data came from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In 2002, there were 216 cases of HIV-infected babies recorded. In 2013, the numbers decreased almost four times as CDC recorded only 69. Dr. Steven Nesheim with the CDC led the research.

The researchers said HIV is transmitted to the baby from the mother and they believed the efforts to prevent the transmission contributed to the high number of cases in 2002. Most of the women who gave birth to babies with HIV underwent testing and the results turned out to be positive. However, mothers who decided to get tested started to become a precautionary measure in the years 2010 to 2013. From the years 2000 to 20005, only 38 percent of women knew if they had HIV or not before they decided to get pregnant, TIME revealed.

The increase of women getting tested for HIV played a critical role in the decrease of the number of babies born with HIV, the researchers said. Expectant mothers were aware of their status could get anti-HIV drug treatments keeping the virus at extremely low levels. If mothers were on proper anti-HIV treatment, the percentage of passing HIV to their babies is only at one to two percent.

The researchers also found more than 80 percent of the new cases of HIV transmission from mother to child are from mothers who are African American, Hispanic, and Latino. Dr. David Rosenthal, the director for Center for Young Adult, Adolescent and Pediatric HIV, in Great Neck, New York, added 38 percent of the new cases of mother-to-child HIV transmission came from Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, and Texas, Web MD reported.

The researchers said aside from the mother preventing the possibility of the transmission via anti-HIC drug treatments, infants born with the disease should also undergo treatment for six weeks in order to stop the spread of the virus. Rosenthal added, "In order to make this happen, we have to help ensure mother receive good medical care early in their pregnancy, and we need to ensure that mothers of all races and ethnicities receive the same outstanding medical care we offer."

Meanwhile, the new study came out in the journal JAMA Pediatrics on March 20. For more news and updates, please check out other Parent Herald reports. 

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