Michigan Makes Dramatic Progress in Elimination of Perinatal HIV Infection

February 7, 2002

Michigan Department of Community Health Director James K. Haveman, Jr., today announced that Michigan's efforts to prevent mother to infant HIV transmission have been highly successful with the percentage of children born to HIV infected mothers decreasing significantly from 19% in 1993 to 3% in 2000. Michigan's success in this area has been featured in the current issue of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

"This is outstanding news in our efforts to improve the health of children in Michigan," said Haveman. "This dramatic decline in the number of babies born with HIV has been helped by the outstanding efforts of our HIV/AIDS surveillance epidemiology and prevention staffs."

This reduction is attributed to increases in efforts to offer voluntary HIV counseling and testing to all pregnant women and the use of Zidovudine (ZDV) prophylaxis during pregnancy for HIV-infected women. Maternal ZDV use prenatally and or during labor and delivery increased significantly from 27% in 1993 to 85% in 2000.

"Knowledge of HIV infection and appropriate use of anti-HIV therapy during pregnancy can prevent mother-to-infant transmission of HIV," said Department of Community Health Chief Medical Executive, Dr. David R. Johnson. "Increasing access for all women to prenatal care and voluntary HIV testing is necessary to further reduce this kind of HIV transmission."

"Although these efforts have been highly successful, there are still women who remain at risk of transmitting HIV to their babies," said Eve Mokotoff, an HIV/AIDS Epidemiologist at the Department of Community Health and co-author of the report. "Especially mothers who do not receive prenatal care, abuse substances while pregnant or who are not tested for HIV prior to delivery.

"This good news should not make anyone feel that our work on this issue is done," said Haveman. "We cannot let anyone become complacent on this issue and must continue to emphasize routine HIV counseling and voluntary testing of all pregnant women, because this is crucial to further reducing mother to child transmission of HIV in Michigan."