A national, population-based survey was initiated in 1988 to measure the prevalence of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection in women giving birth to infants in the United States. Following standardized procedures, residual dried-blood specimens collected on filter paper for newborn metabolic screening were tested anonymously in state public health laboratories for maternal antibody to HIV. As of September 1990, annual survey data were available from 38 states and the District of Columbia. The highest HIV seroprevalence rates were observed in New York (5.8 per 1000), the District of Columbia (5.5 per 1000), New Jersey (4.9 per 1000), and Florida (4.5 per 1000). Nationwide, an estimated 1.5 per 1000 women giving birth to infants in 1989 were infected with HIV. Assuming a perinatal transmission rate of 30%, we estimate that approximately 1800 newborns acquired HIV infection during one 12-month period. Preventing transmission of HIV infection to women and infants is an urgent public health priority.