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Pregnancy Complications

HIV/AIDS in Pregnancy

Testing During Labor Prevents
Mother-to-infant HIV Transmission

New report suggests that a rapid HIV test administered during labor can help reduce the risk of mother-to-child HIV transmission. (Note: prenatal AZT therapy has been found previously to reduce the risk of mother-to-infant HIV transmission by up to 65 percent; similar treatment during labor can reduce the risk by another 18 percent.) Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham say calculations, based on projections of 1,275 infected infants per 100,000 mother-infant pairs, show that HIV testing during labor, and subsequent treatment during labor with intravenous AZT (zidovudine) for infected mothers, could prevent 183 cases of infant HIV infection per 100,000 mother-infant pairs. Authors further note that the prevention of 183 cases of HIV transmission 100,000 mother-infant pairs could save as much as $58,000 per child. Transmission and cost-savings estimates were based on the assumptions of a 5 percent HIV infection rate in laboring women and a lifetime cost of $103,708 for caring for an infected child. The analysis appears in the journal "Obstetrics and Gynecology" (1999;94:34-40).

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