To the Editor.
—I wonder if Simonds et al1 have considered the ramifications of recommending that potentially HIV-infected infants be identified after birth. In New York, this position has led to a legislative proposal to retroactively unblind the anonymous newborn heelstick serosurvey. This would effectively make pregnant women the only category of people to be HIV tested without informed consent, other than federal prisoners.The debate about this issue would change if we had a cure for AIDS. Even then, the treatment would have to be available to those who could benefit. As the current tuberculosis epidemic illustrates, medications do not suffice to control a disease. Moreover, we currently have treatments only for specific opportunistic infections, some of which are experimental. As the sophisticated, expensive technology used to distinguish the truly infected 15% to 30% of neonates from those with passively acquired antibodies is not available everywhere, many uninfected
Chavkin W. Pneumocystis carinii Pneumonia in Children With Perinatally Acquired HIV Infection. JAMA. 1994;271(2):102-103. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03510260026014