Women's Health USA 2007
Photographs of women's faces
Health Status > Maternal Health
HIV in Pregnancy

In 2005, 111 infants tested positive for HIV after being born to HIV-infected mothers (126,964 females over age 13 were living with HIV/AIDS in that year). The number of infant HIV/AIDS cases in 2005 was only one-third the number reported in 1994. A major factor in this decline is the increasing use of prophylaxis before, during, and after pregnancy to reduce perinatal transmission of the virus. In 1994, the U.S. Public Health Service began to recommend prophylaxis for all HIV-positive pregnant women; since 1995, HIV counseling and voluntary testing have been recommended for all pregnant women. In 2004, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new and updated materials to further promote universal prenatal HIV testing. It is expected that the perinatal transmission rate will continue to decline with increased use of aggressive interventions and obstetric procedures, such as elective cesarean section.

Although there is a significant racial/ethnic disparity in HIV/AIDS among women, and consequently among infants born to HIV-infected women, the decline over the past decade occurred among each racial and ethnic group. The number of cases of HIV/AIDS among non-Hispanic Black infants declined 65.6 percent, from 215 cases in 1994 to 74 cases in 2005. The decline among Hispanic infants was less marked (40.6 percent), from 32 cases in 1994 to 19 cases in 2005. The most extreme decline in the number of cases was among non-Hispanic White infants (81.8 percent) from 77 cases in 1994 to 14 cases in 2005.

Women can become infected with HIV in a variety of ways. Among infants with HIV/AIDS in 2005, 19 were born to mothers who acquired their HIV through injection drug use, 35 were born to mothers who contracted HIV from sex with an infected partner, and 46 were born to mothers whose risk factor was not specified.


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Women's Health USA 2007 is not copyrighted. Readers are free to duplicate and use all or part of the information contained on this page. Suggested Citation: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Women's Health USA 2007. Rockville, Maryland: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2007.