We're unable to sign you in at this time. Please try again in a few minutes.
We were able to sign you in, but your subscription(s) could not be found. Please try again in a few minutes.
There may be a problem with your account. Please contact the AMA Service Center to resolve this issue.
Contact the AMA Service Center:
Telephone: 1 (800) 262-2350 or 1 (312) 670-7827  *   Email: subscriptions@jamanetwork.com
Error Message ......
JAMA Patient Page |

Preventing HIV Infection in Infants and Children FREE

Erin Brender, MD, Writer; Cassio Lynm, MA, Illustrator; Richard M. Glass, MD, Editor
JAMA. 2006;296(3):356. doi:10.1001/jama.296.3.356.
Text Size: A A A
Published online

Each day about 1800 children worldwide become infected with HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), the majority of them newborns. Most newborns and children with HIV became infected through pregnancy, the birth process, or breast milk from HIV-infected mothers (mother-to-child transmission). Although there is no cure for HIV or AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome), treatment is available to prolong life and to prevent transmission of the virus from a mother to her baby. The July 19, 2006, issue of JAMA includes an article about how treatment of HIV in children in the United States has led to a decline in HIV-associated infections.


  • Take measures to protect yourself from contracting HIV. HIV is spread through unprotected sex with an infected partner, through infected blood, and through contaminated needles.

  • Maintain good health during pregnancy. Avoid tobacco, alcohol and illicit drugs, and risky sexual behaviors while pregnant. Get proper nutrition and seek regular prenatal care.

  • Get tested for HIV, especially since many people infected with HIV have no symptoms. It is recommended that all pregnant women be tested for HIV. Your doctor can counsel you about HIV testing. Many sites offer anonymous testing.

  • There are several precautions a pregnant woman infected with HIV can take to prevent the spread of HIV to her baby, reducing the risk to a low level. Treatment of HIV infection with antiretroviral drugs (medications that help fight HIV) during pregnancy and labor can help lower the risk of transmission. Preventive treatment for the newborn can also help reduce the risk of transmitting the virus. Taking HIV medications properly is necessary to prevent the virus from becoming resistant (more difficult to treat). Some antiretroviral drugs are not recommended for use during pregnancy. Discuss the proper treatment regimen and monitoring with your doctor.

  • Having a cesarean section birth may reduce the chance of transmitting the virus in some women. There are risks associated with cesarean section. Discuss with your doctor whether a scheduled cesarean section or vaginal delivery would be best for you.

  • In the United States, women infected with HIV should use formula and should not breastfeed in order to prevent transmission of the virus to the baby through breast milk.


  • Babies are tested for HIV differently than adults. Discuss how best to test for HIV in babies with your doctor.

  • It is recommended that babies born to HIV-infected mothers receive an antiretroviral drug such as zidovudine after birth. They should also receive medication to prevent HIV-associated infections. Discuss the recommended drugs and follow-up with your doctor.



To find this and previous JAMA Patient Pages, go to the Patient Page link on JAMA's Web site at http://www.jama.com. A Patient Page on HIV was published in the July 14, 2004, issue.

Sources: US Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization, Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS

The JAMA Patient Page is a public service of JAMA. The information and recommendations appearing on this page are appropriate in most instances, but they are not a substitute for medical diagnosis. For specific information concerning your personal medical condition, JAMA suggests that you consult your physician. This page may be photocopied noncommercially by physicians and other health care professionals to share with patients. To purchase bulk reprints, call 203/259-8724.




Also Meets CME requirements for:
Browse CME for all U.S. States
Accreditation Information
The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
Note: You must get at least of the answers correct to pass this quiz.
Please click the checkbox indicating that you have read the full article in order to submit your answers.
Your answers have been saved for later.
You have not filled in all the answers to complete this quiz
The following questions were not answered:
Sorry, you have unsuccessfully completed this CME quiz with a score of
The following questions were not answered correctly:
Commitment to Change (optional):
Indicate what change(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.
Your quiz results:
The filled radio buttons indicate your responses. The preferred responses are highlighted
For CME Course: A Proposed Model for Initial Assessment and Management of Acute Heart Failure Syndromes
Indicate what changes(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.


Spanish Patient Pages
Supplemental Content

Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

0 Citations

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging & repositioning the boxes below.

Articles Related By Topic
Related Collections
PubMed Articles

The Rational Clinical Examination: Evidence-Based Clinical Diagnosis
Original Article: What Can the Medical History and Physical Examination Tell Us About Low Back Pain?

The Rational Clinical Examination: Evidence-Based Clinical Diagnosis
Is There Evidence of Systemic Disease?