on the HIV Law Project's request for a preliminary injunction against the state has not yet been issued, as of July 1998 New York remained the only state to mandatorily test newborns for HIV and notify the mother of the results. According to data released by the state health department, in the first 11 months of the newborn testing program (February through December 1997), 957 HIV-positive infants were identified out of 236,663 tested. These 957 infants were born to 923 HIV-positive mothers, of whom 96 (10.4%) had not known their HIV status prior to delivery.3 Seventy-seven cases were referred back to the state health department for follow-up when the hospitals or physicians were unable to locate the mothers or persuade them to return for follow-up care. Using AIDS Institute staff in New York City and communicable disease specialists in upstate New York, the state was able to directly locate and notify 68 of the 77 mothers; 5 mothers had moved out of state, and 4 were lost to follow-up.


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Since the conversion of the infant's HIV status is unknown, one can only estimate the actual numbers of babies who will seroconvert to HIV positivity. Given a range of 10%–25% who might seroconvert, the number of HIV-positive babies ranges from 96 to 239; similarly, the number of HIV-positive infants whose mothers learned their status as a result of the mandatory testing program could range from 10 to 24 in the 11-month reporting period.

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