HIV study finds mother-to-baby transmission cases

HIV study finds mother-to-baby transmission cases

A new study concludes a few pregnant women in Canada are passing HIV to their babies, despite the fact that this country has all the tools needed to stop it from happening.

Researchers combed through an HIV surveillance database and found 33 babies born in Canada between 2012 and 2021 were infected during pregnancy or delivery.

Pediatric infectious diseases specialist and study co-author Dr. Fatima Kakkar says pregnant women with HIV can take antiretroviral treatment to prevent transmission to their babies.

She says all pregnant women should be screened for HIV infection, but that sometimes doesn’t happen if they don’t have access to good prenatal care.

In other cases, women who immigrated to Canada during their pregnancies didn’t have their HIV status discovered until it was too late to prevent transmission.

Kakkar says there are also women who tested negative at the beginning of their pregnancies but became infected by an HIV-positive partner later.

She says it’s important to fight the stigma that still exists around HIV so that pregnant women won’t be afraid to be tested and treated.

Kakkar and her colleagues presented the findings at the Canadian Conference on HIV/AIDS Research that wrapped up on Sunday.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published May 1, 2023.


Canadian Press health coverage receives support through a partnership with the Canadian Medical Association. CP is solely responsible for this content.

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