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Irish Journal of Medical Science

, Volume 167, Issue 1, pp 28–32 | Cite as

Perinatal transmission of hiv and diagnosis of hiv infection in infants: A review

  • C. B. Nourse
  • K. M. Butler
Article

Abstract

Paediatric HIV infection has become a major burden on families, communities and health services worldwide. The vast majority of children now acquire HIV as a result of mother to infant (vertical) transmission. Recent major advances have occurred following the greater understanding of the risk factors for perinatal transmission and the role of antiretroviral therapy in preventing transmission. Now that interruption of vertical transmission is possible, early identification of HIV-infected pregnant women is critical. As of June 1997, HIV infection has been diagnosed in 37 children under 15 yrs of age in the Republic of Ireland; 32 as a result of maternal to infant transmission. The exact timing of HIV transmission during pregnancy is unclear but it is estimated that 60–70 per cent of infants may be infected at the time of delivery with approximately 30 per cent infected earlier in gestation. Vertical transmission rates vary from 15–40 per cent in different global areas. Antenatal and perinatal zidovudine treatment can reduce this rate by 60–70 per cent. Risk factors for the vertical transmission of HIV-1 are multifactorial. These factors include maternal disease status, in particular maternal viral load, route of delivery, duration of membrane rupture, presence of obstetric complications and infant feeding practices. Definitive diagnosis of HIV infection in infancy has been difficult in the past. Direct viral detection methods now allow the reliable diagnosis of HIV infection in the first few months of life.

Keywords

Human Immunodeficiency Virus Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection Zidovudine Vertical Transmission Perinatal Transmission 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. B. Nourse
    • 1
    • 2
  • K. M. Butler
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PaediatricsUniversity College Dublin and Our Lady’s Hospital for Sick ChildrenCrumlin
  2. 2.Children’s Research CentreOur Lady’s Hospital for Sick ChildrenCrumlin

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