Monitoring the trend of the transmission rate of vertically acquired HIV infection: A simple method applied to Italian data

E. Girardi, L. Ravà, P. Pezzotti, V. Puro, G. Ippolito, I. Antonozzi, R. Beghini, M. Burroni, U. Caruso, R. Ciannamea, L. Chiovato, M. Cioni, C. Corbetta, F. Costa, V. D. Damato, C. Del Carpio, A. M. Germana, D. Gullo, A. Menna, A. .MisseriniS. Pagliardini, G. Parlato, E. Pasquini, S. Piazzi, A. Pignero, C. Pintor, G. Pugliese, A. Spanò, M. Stegagno, E. Zulli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The objective of this study was to develop and validate a method for estimating and monitoring over time the transmission rate of vertically acquired HIV infection at the population level. We estimated the annual number of children born to HIV-infected women in Italy in 1991-1994 by multiplying the seroprevalence rates, provided by Anonymous Unlinked HIV Serosurveys among Italian Newborns, by the annual number of births, provided by the Italian National Institute of Statistics. The number of HIV-infected children was estimated by applying a simplified back-calculation method to the incident cases of vertically acquired AIDS reported to the AIDS surveillance registry, using seven different estimates of the distribution of the incubation period identified through a literature search. The annual vertical transmission rates were estimated by dividing the estimated number of children with vertically acquired HIV infection by the estimated number of births to an HIV-infected mother. Depending on the chosen distribution of the incubation period, the estimated transmission rate for the four-year period ranges from 0.10 to 0.30. Five of the seven incubation distributions provided a rate falling within the very narrow interval 0.18-0.20. The method provided estimates of vertical transmission rates consistent with those of longitudinal studies performed in European countries. The method presented here could be useful for monitoring the impact of interventions aimed at reducing HIV vertical transmission rate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)229-234
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Biological Regulators and Homeostatic Agents
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • AIDS surveillance
  • Back-calculation model
  • HIV infections
  • Seroprevalence
  • Vertical transmission

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Physiology
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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