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Original Investigation
May 2017

Estimated Perinatal HIV Infection Among Infants Born in the United States, 2002-2013

Author Affiliations
  • 1Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia
  • 2now with the Center for Global Health, Office of the Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia
  • 3ICF International, Atlanta, Georgia
JAMA Pediatr. 2017;171(5):435-442. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2016.5053
Key Points

Question  What are the numbers and characteristics of infants with perinatal human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection born in the United States in recent years?

Findings  Data reported to the National HIV Surveillance System show that the estimated number of infants born with perinatal HIV infection decreased from 216 in 2002 to 69 in 2013. Maternal and infant factors associated with infant HIV infection include late maternal diagnosis and lack of antiretroviral treatment and prophylaxis.

Meaning  Despite reductions in perinatal HIV transmission in the United States, gaps in HIV diagnosis and treatment persist.


Importance  Perinatal transmission of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) can be reduced through services including antiretroviral treatment and prophylaxis. Data on the national incidence of perinatal HIV transmission and missed prevention opportunities are needed to monitor progress toward elimination of mother-to-child HIV transmission.

Objective  To estimate the number of perinatal HIV cases among infants born in the United States.

Design, Setting, and Participants  Data were obtained from the National HIV Surveillance System on infants with HIV born in the United States (including the District of Columbia) and their mothers between 2002 and 2013 (reported through December 31, 2015). Estimates were adjusted for delay in diagnosis and reporting by weighting each reported case based on a model incorporating time from birth to diagnosis and report. Analysis was performed from April 1 to August 15, 2016.

Exposures  Maternal HIV infection and antiretroviral medication, including maternal receipt prenatally or during labor/delivery and infant receipt postnatally.

Main Outcomes and Measures  Diagnosis of perinatally acquired HIV infection in infants born in the United States. Infant and maternal characteristics, including receipt of perinatal HIV testing, treatment, and prophylaxis.

Results  The estimated annual number of perinatally infected infants born in the United States decreased from 216 (95% CI, 206-230) in 2002 to 69 (95% CI, 60-83) in 2013. Among perinatally HIV-infected children born in 2002-2013, 836 (63.0%) of the mothers identified as black or African American and 243 (18.3%) as Hispanic or Latino. A total of 236 (37.5%) of the mothers had HIV infection diagnosed before pregnancy in 2002-2005 compared with 120 (51.5%) in 2010-2013; the proportion of mother-infant pairs receiving all 3 recommended arms of antiretroviral prophylaxis or treatment (prenatal, intrapartum, and postnatal) was 22.4% in 2002-2005 and 31.8% in 2010-2013, with approximately 179 (28.4%) (2002-2005) and 94 (40.3%) (2010-2013) receiving antiretroviral prophylaxis or treatment during pregnancy. Five Southern states (Florida, Texas, Georgia, Louisiana, and Maryland) accounted for 687 (38.0%) of infants born with HIV infection in the United States during the overall period. According to national data for live births, the incidence of perinatal HIV infection among infants born in the United States in 2013 was 1.75 per 100 000 live births.

Conclusions and Relevance  Despite reduced perinatal HIV infection in the United States, missed opportunities for prevention were common among infected infants and their mothers in recent years. As of 2013, the incidence of perinatal HIV infection remained 1.75 times the proposed Centers for Disease Control and Prevention elimination of mother-to-child HIV transmission goal of 1 per 100 000 live births.