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Keeping Baby Safe

Keeping Baby Safe


Virtually all mother-to-child HIV transmissions can be eliminated through a short course of antiretroviral drugs and other interventions, researchers from the United Kingdom and Ireland report in the journal AIDS. By screening about 95% of all pregnant women for HIV infection and offering treatment to prevent vertical transmissions in those identified as HIV-positive, U.K. and Irish health officials have been able to lower the mother-to-child infection rate to just 1.2%, down from about 20% in the early 1990s. But that figure includes mother-to-child infections occurring among the 5% of pregnant women not screened for HIV. When looking only at women given a 14-day course of predelivery anti-HIV drugs, the vertical infection rate was just 0.8%, according to the analysis. Antiretroviral treatment, having an undetectable viral load, and adding a Caesarian section reduced the risks even further to virtually zero.

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