Friday, November 10, 2000

Teens Unlikely to be Tested for HIV, Mothers’ Transmission Rate Drops, Community Health Funding Report

Teens Unlikely to be Tested for HIV, Mothers’ Transmission Rate Drops
By Pamela Appea
Community Health Funding Report

Mother-to-child HIV transmission drops from 25% to 3% in the United States, but pregnant teens are more likely than other expectant mothers to forgo prenatal care and consequently are unlikely to test for HIV, says a prominent researcher.

During pregnancy, AZT drug treatment significantly reduces the risk the mother will pass on the virus to her child before, during or after childbirth, says Dr. Lynne Mofenson of the Nat’l Institute of Child Health & Human Development. She drafted the Nat’l Institute of Health guidelines for AZT.

Among adolescents newly diagnosed with HIV, 64% are girls and most [of] them acquire the infection heterosexually, Mofenson said. The rate of infection is slightly higher among black teens, she adds.

Among slightly older females, the risks also are significant. By ages 20-24, women are 44% of the “newly infected.”

Studies show drug treatment can help even women who receive treatment in the last stages of pregnancy. Mofenson says a new study suggests a month of prenatal AZT, followed by taking the drug during labor, cuts the chance the infant will develop HIV/AIDS.


Originally Published September November 10, 2000
Copyright 2000 by Community Development Publications