The reduction in perinatal transmission of HIV infection in the United States from 1985 to 2005 was noted as an achievement in public health by the MMWR Weekly (June 2, 2006/55(21);592-597). This reduction is attributed to the advances we have made in routine HIV screening of pregnant women, the use of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) in pregnancy, the use of antiretroviral prophylaxis during labor and post-partum for the newborn, the avoidance of breastfeeding, and elective Cesarean delivery when appropriate.
Numerous initiatives have also contributed to the reduction in these cases: provider education, social marketing, and rapid testing in labor and delivery. As a result, Florida has seen significant decreases in annual perinatal HIV-infected births since 2001. However, we must never forget that every perinatal HIV infection is a sentinel event that represents a missed opportunity somewhere along the line.
The goal of the Perinatal HIV Prevention Community is to continue to decrease the number of HIV-infected babies born in Florida. We can achieve this goal by educating men and women about perinatal HIV transmission prevention and increasing the number of providers who conduct HIV screening as part of their routine healthcare exam. We must also work together so that all pregnant women are routinely screened for STDs, including HIV, in the first and third trimester and that all delivering hospitals in Florida conduct rapid HIV screening in labor and delivery.
We have designed the Perinatal Community to be user friendly. It offers a variety of resources related to testing and prevention of mother-to-child transmission for both the provider and the consumer. We have added pages dedicated to routine HIV screening in all healthcare settings.
Please join us in the fight against HIV. With your continued feedback and support, we will grow and improve to better serve your needs. If you have questions or suggestions regarding the content, please contact Hilda Leon.