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April 10, 1991

Another Consequence of Uncontrolled Spread of HIV Among Adults: Vertical Transmission

JAMA. 1991;265(14):1798-1799. doi:10.1001/jama.1991.03460140024004

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SOME mothers stitch baby blankets in celebration of their babies' birth. But the quilts adorning the walls at this conference were sewn to commemorate a child's death.

Most children infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), such as those who are remembered in the panels from the NAMES (not an acronym) project displayed at the Sixth Annual National Pediatric AIDS Conference, at Washington, DC, were infected perinatally. The vertical transmission of HIV presents unique challenges to researchers and clinicians, yet its prevention ultimately depends on control of the disease in adults.

Two Pediatric Patterns  The route of transmission is obviously a major difference between the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) found in children and adults, but the clinical manifestations are different as well. Two patterns of disease occur in children. Some develop severe symptoms in the first year of life, such as wasting and encephalopathy. Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia is a major