HIV Prevalence Among Childbearing Women in New York City, State Dropped Between 1988 and 2000, Study Says
HIV prevalence among women who gave birth in New York City dropped by about 50% between 1988 and 2000, and HIV prevalence among childbearing women throughout New York state fell by almost 25% during the same time period, according to a study published in the May 2004 issue of the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, Reuters Health reports. Dr. Wendy Pulver of the New York State Department of Health Bureau of HIV/AIDS Epidemiology and colleagues examined the HIV antibody test results of 3.43 million infants born in the state between 1988 and 2000. Researchers assumed that if the infant tested HIV-positive, then the mother was infected with the virus, according to Reuters Health (Reuters Health, 5/18). New York requires that all infants born in the state whose mothers have not been tested for HIV during their pregnancy be tested for the virus within 12 hours of birth (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 9/15/03). Researchers found a "steady decline" in HIV prevalence during the 12 years of the study. HIV prevalence among childbearing women in the state dropped from 0.17% between 1988 and 1989 to 0.14% between 1999 and 2000, a 24% decline. Among childbearing women in New York City, HIV prevalence dropped from 1.2% between 1988 and 1989 to 0.6% between 1999 and 2000, a 49% decrease. Researchers found a 68% drop in HIV prevalence among childbearing white women in the city, compared with a 61% decrease among Hispanic women and a 31% decrease among black women. In the rest of the state, researchers found a 17% decrease in HIV prevalence among childbearing white women, compared with a 73% drop among Hispanic women and a 37% decrease among black women (Reuters Health, 5/18).
Researchers concluded that the study -- which offers the "only statewide population-based HIV prevalence data currently available for childbearing women" -- can serve as a "valuable tool" for watching trends, "targeting resources and evaluating programs and policies" (Pulver et al., Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent, May 2004). Dr. Lynne Mofenson of NIH in an accompanying editorial said that several issues "complicate" extrapolating the data from this study to the "overall female population," according to Reuters Health. However, she added that the study could offer a model for use in conducting surveillance programs in other states, Reuters Health reports (Reuters Health, 5/18).