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January 22, 1997

Hospital Variation in Intrapartum Use of Zidovudine

Author Affiliations

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Atlanta, Ga
Florida Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services Tallahassee

JAMA. 1997;277(4):299. doi:10.1001/jama.1997.03540280037028

To the Editor.  —In August 1994, the US Public Health Service issued recommendations for administering zidovudine to pregnant women infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and their newborns to reduce the risk of perinatal HIV transmission.1 We conducted an anonymous, population-based study to estimate the proportion of HIV-infected women giving birth in Florida from October 1994 through March 1995 who received perinatal treatment with zidovudine. We used a modified radioimmunoassay for serum zidovudine to test dried-blood specimens that had been collected from newborns for routine metabolic screening. These specimens had been tested anonymously for maternal HIV antibody as part of a nationwide HIV serosurvey conducted under an existing protocol that had institutional review board approval. Performance characteristics of the modified assay are described elsewhere,2 and studies are now in progress to develop a confirmatory test. The metabolism of zidovudine is delayed in neonates, resulting in