AS OF December 1997, more than 30 million individuals throughout the
world were infected with human immunodeficiency virus 1 (HIV-1).1
Of the estimated 16000 new infections that occur daily, more than 90% occur
in developing countries, and 40% occur in women of childbearing age. Every
minute of the day an infant is born infected with HIV-1. In sub-Saharan Africa,
6% to 30% of pregnant women are HIV-1 seropositive. In the United States,
0.17% of all childbearing women are seropositive, and 6000 to 7000 infants
are born each year to HIV-1–seropositive women.2,3
Particularly high HIV-1 seroprevalence rates have been documented in pregnant
women in inner-city populations of New York City (1.25%), the District of
Columbia (0.9%), Puerto Rico (0.7%), New Jersey (0.56%), and Florida (0.54%).3 Although HIV-1 seroprevalence rates in childbearing
women in the United States have leveled recently, there has been an increase
in the incidence of HIV infection among adolescent girls, primarily through
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