Trends in HIV prevalence among pregnant women in Italy, 1994 to 2002

Enrico Girardi, Paola Vanacore, Francesco Costa, Mariacarmela Solmone, Claudio Angeletti, Maria Rosaria Capobianchi, Giuseppe Ippolito

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objective: The aim of the study was to analyze the trends in HIV prevalence among childbearing women through unlinked anonymous testing of newborns. Methods: Dried-blood specimens, residual to routine metabolic screening of newborns, were collected in Italy during the last quarter of each year, from 1994 to 2002. These samples were tested anonymously for HIV antibodies. Results: Of 844,311 specimens tested, 703 (0.83/1000; 95% confidence interval, 0.76-0.88) resulted as HIV antibody-reactive. Prevalence was 1.05 per 1000 in 1994 and decreased significantly over the following 3 years, reaching 0.60 per 1000 in 1997. Thereafter, a seroprevalence increase was recorded with a figure of 1.01 per 1000 in 1999. A decrease was again observed in 2001 and in 2002, when the seroprevalence rate was significantly lower than that recorded in 1994. During the entire study period, higher prevalence rates were observed in northern Italian regions, where the highest AIDS incidence rates are recorded, and in metropolitan compared with nonmetropolitan areas. The estimated number of children born each year to an HIV-positive mother ranged from 313 to 546. Conclusion: The number of children born to an HIV-positive mother calls for continued efforts to prevent vertical transmission of the infection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)361-364
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2006


  • Childbearing women
  • HIV
  • Italy
  • Seroprevalence
  • Surveillance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Virology
  • Immunology

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