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Now Is the Time for Routine Voluntary HIV Testing of Pregnant Women

E. Richard Stiehm, MD
Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1995;149(5):484-485. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1995.02170180014002.
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THE MOST dramatic success story of an antiviral drug against human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection came last February with the revelation that zidovudine given to pregnant, HIV-positive, asymptomatic women reduced by threefold the risk for transmission of HIV to their infants.1 This was the finding of an international double-blind placebo-controlled multicenter study (Protocol 076) conducted by the AIDS Clinical Trial Group Network of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at over 30 centers throughout the United States, France, and Puerto Rico. The study was halted early when the first interim analysis provided clear statistical evidence of drug efficacy; HIV transmission was reduced from 22.0% (40/183) in the placebo group to 7.2% (13/180) in the zidovudine-treated group, a reduction of 70%!

See also pages 489, 497, 503, 513, 521, and 581

That's the good news. The bad news (or at least the reservations) are threefold: (1) The


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