AIDS in Children. Prevention of AIDS among children, especially mother-to-
child transmission of HIV, is one of the major successes in the fight against AIDS.
Similarly, vigorous blood screening essentially eliminated almost all cases of pediatric AIDS due to blood transfusion and among hemophiliacs. [View
AIDS in Children <13 Years of Age by Exposure Category Reported in 2000 and Cumulative (US)36.]
All these have resulted in dramatic drop in AIDS cases among children (< 13 yo), especially pediatric cases (see Figure 1).
Injection drug use (IDU) has been the major cause of HIV infection of pregnant women responsible for perinatal HIV transmission during the 1980s. Since the early 1990's there has been a dramatic rise in heterosexual transmission of HIV to women (see Figure 2) -- especially among African-Americans and Hispanics -- now accounting for most of recent cases perinatal HIV transmission. This dramatic shift is reflected the cases of pediatric HIV infection, disproportionately affecting ethnic minorities, especially African-Americans and Hispanics (see Figure 3).
It is possible to reduce perinatal HIV transmission (mother-to-child transmission of HIV) through treatment of the HIV-infected mother with antiretroviral drugs (e.g., ZDV) during the course of pregnancy, careful delivery and no breastfeeding. Continued treatment of the child with antiretroviral drugs reduces progression to AIDS, if the child was still infected. Success in reduction of perinatal HIV transmission in a a number of states in the US came from implementation of aggressive testing, counseling and treatment36 of pregnant women.
The above precautions require early screening of pregnant women, for possible HIV infection. Unfortunately, the most recent cases of pediatric HIV infection disproportionately affect ethnic minorities, especially African-Americans and Hispanics (see Figure 3). Pregnant women among these groups, especially those who are at great risk (see Figure 2) are less likely or unable (to afford) the prenatal care needed for early detection of possible HIV infection needed to implement protocol to reduce perinatal HIV transmission .