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May 15, 1996

Preventing Perinatal HIV InfectionHow Far Have We Come?

Author Affiliations

From the Epidemiology Branch, Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, National Center for HIV, STD, and TB Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Ga.

JAMA. 1996;275(19):1514-1515. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03530430058040

During the past 2 decades, perinatal transmission of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) has become a major cause of illness and death among children in the United States, having infected more than 15 000 children and having claimed more than 3000 lives.1 An important turning point in this epidemic occurred on February 21,1994, when the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced the interim results of AIDS Clinical Trials Group (ACTG) Protocol 076, which demonstrated that zidovudine administered to a group of HIV-infected women during pregnancy and labor and to their newborns reduced the risk for perinatal HIV transmission by two thirds.2 This dramatic prevention breakthrough offered both the hope of substantially controlling the HIV epidemic in children and the challenge of turning this hope into reality. In response to this challenge, a multifaceted campaign was launched by public and private health organizations, community groups, and individuals to translate the