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Article
July 1, 1988

Vertical Transmission of HIV

Author Affiliations

National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Bethesda, Md

National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Bethesda, Md

JAMA. 1988;260(1):30-31. doi:10.1001/jama.1988.03410010038018
Abstract

To the Editor.—  Investigators of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome continue to use the term perinatal transmission in referring to the vertical transmission of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection from mother to fetus or mother to infant.1-3 Use of this term is inaccurate and misleading because perinatal refers to the period shortly before and shortly after birth, and there is no evidence to suggest that transmission occurs only during this period.Use of the term perinatal period was initiated by a German pediatrician named Pfaundler in 1936. The term was useful to describe the peak in mortality that occurs just prior to, during, and after birth.4 From studies of perinatal mortality, the following terms have emerged: (1) perinatal I, 28 weeks' gestation to less than seven days after birth; (2) perinatal II, 20 weeks' gestation to less than 28 days after birth; and (3) perinatal III, 20 weeks' gestation to

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