Number of HIV-Positive Babies Born in New York Declining, Nearly All Identified Infants Receiving Treatment
The rates of perinatal HIV transmission continue to decline in New York, with 99.4% of HIV-exposed infants receiving HIV-related care, according to new data from the New York State Department of Health AIDS Institute. According to a release from Assembly member Nettie Mayersohn, the figures demonstrate the success of the 1997 New York Baby AIDS Law, which requires all newborns to be routinely tested for HIV. Mayersohn said, "Virtually all of the babies are being identified and treated. Without this law, hundreds of women would never have learned their HIV status and countless babies would have needlessly died from this horrible disease." She added, "It is a disgrace that the federal CDC and the AIDS lobby continue to oppose this successful, common sense public health approach to addressing HIV." As of June 2001, the state health department's AIDS Institute found that 93% of all women giving birth knew their HIV status before delivery, up from 62% in July 1999. The national rate of prenatal testing was 56% in 1999. According to the release, the department also found that the number of seropositive newborns in New York City has "dropped to the lowest rate ever recorded" and rates of perinatal HIV "are decreasing as a result of testing and treatment to prevent transmission." Mayersohn said she expects the success of the state law to encourage the introduction of federal legislation to require routine HIV testing of newborns (Mayersohn release, 9/5).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.