statistics, and the estimated rate of perinatal transmission.5 Based on seroprevalence data from 25 states,6 CDC estimates that there were about 1.5 HIV-infected women per 1,000 women delivering live infants in the United States in 1989, which translates to approximately 5,900 births to seropositive women during a 12-month period. Assuming that 25 to 35 percent of these infants were actually infected, an estimated 1,500 to 2,100 new cases of perinatally acquired infection occurred in one year, with the total number probably closer to 1,750 (Gwinn et al., 1990). This figure exceeds the total number of all cases of perinatally acquired AIDS reported from 1981 through 1989. Even if the incidence of perinatal infection remains stable over the next several years, each birth cohort of HIV-infected children will continue to contribute to the number of newly diagnosed AIDS cases for the next several years. Thus, one could expect increasing numbers of children to develop AIDS each year, at least over the short term.


 Current estimates of the perinatal transmission rate, which range from 25 to 35 percent (European Collaborative Study, 1988; Italian Multicentre Study, 1988; Blanche et al., 1989), are derived from prospective, follow-up studies of infants born to HIV antibody-positive mothers. Because such studies are difficult to conduct, these estimates are still somewhat uncertain.


 These states accounted for about 69 percent of all births in the United States and about 86 percent of all perinatal AIDS cases reported to date. As a result, national estimates have been weighted accordingly.

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