A prevalence assessment of HIV infection among parturients was performed in order to estimate the future incidence of pediatric AIDS cases and obtain data on the trend of the infection in Italy. Consecutive whole blood samples from newborns collected on filter paper from all regions of Italy (October-December 1990) for routine metabolic screenings, were anonymously examined for HIV-1 antibodies by an ELISA technique. Positive results were confirmed by Western blot. Among 97,658 blood samples tested, 121 (0.124%, 95% confidence interval Poisson distribution 0.103-0.148) were positive. A high prevalence of HIV infection (> 0.2%) was observed in four regions from North and Central Italy while, in some regions in the South, the seroprevalence was ten times lower. In the Lazio Region, namely in Rome, 5 inner-city hospitals with a particularly high prevalence of HIV infection were identified. Assuming that the prevalence of HIV infection observed in the population in this study may reflect the infection rate in the total population of childbearing women, we estimate that approximately 700 newborn babies were delivered from HIV-positive mothers in Italy during 1990. The identification of high prevalence areas could allow for the development of "targeted" testing programs to plan and provide adequate counselling and care of HIV-infected women and their infants.
- Anti-HIV antibodies in newborns
- HIV seroprevalence
- Serosurvey in parturients
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