The American Academy of Pediatrics updates its guidance on evaluating and managing medical care for infants exposed to the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in a newly published clinical report in Pediatrics.
About 8,500 women with HIV infection give birth annually in the United States, according to the clinical report, “Evaluation and Management of the Infant Exposed to HIV in the United States,” published in the November 2020 Pediatrics.
“Whenever possible, we try to identify if a woman has HIV infection before or during pregnancy, because it allows for earlier entry to HIV care for her – and more effective ways to prevent the baby from becoming infected,” said Ellen Gould Chadwick, MD, FAAP, a lead author of the report, written by the Committee on Pediatric AIDS. “The rate of transmission to infants remains low, largely because of the treatment initiated when a pregnant mother’s HIV status is known.”
HIV testing is now part of routine prenatal care in most states. When caring for a newborn, it is important that appropriate steps are taken for early detection of HIV infection, that appropriate vaccines are administered, and adequate counseling is provided to families living with HIV infection.
The AAP also recommends:
“We have come a long way in helping mothers manage perinatal HIV exposures to prevent transmission,” Dr. Chadwick said. “We encourage open communication between doctors, patients and their families so that all appropriate therapies can be provided.”