Perinatal transmission of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) is the primary cause of pediatric HIV infections. In recent years, perinatal HIV-1 transmission rates in the United States have declined markedly because of several factors that include enhanced voluntary counseling and HIV-1 testing (VCT) for pregnant women, widespread use of antiretroviral prophylaxis or combination antiretroviral therapy, avoidance of breastfeeding, and elective cesarean delivery. However, perinatal transmission of HIV-1 still occurs, and 300 to 400 infected infants are born annually, primarily because of missed prevention opportunities. The pediatrician plays a vital role in the prevention of perinatal transmission of HIV-1 by identifying newborns born to infected mothers who were not tested during pregnancy, administering antiretroviral prophylaxis, and ensuring follow-up to confirm or exclude the diagnosis of HIV-1 infection in early infancy. This article reviews recent advances in the prevention of perinatal transmission of HIV-1, discusses evaluation and treatment of infants exposed to HIV-1, and highlights certain unique features of HIV-1 infections in infants, with a focus on early diagnosis, clinical manifestations, treatment, and prognosis.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Microbiology (medical)