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Lancet. 1991 Jun 29;337(8757):1562-5.

Prevalence of maternal HIV-1 infection in Thames regions: results from anonymous unlinked neonatal testing.

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Epidemiology and Biostatistics Unit, Institute of Child Health and Hospitals for Sick Children, London, UK.


To monitor the spread of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in the heterosexual population, residues of blood samples collected routinely on absorbent paper for neonatal screening (Guthrie cards) in NE, NW, and SW Thames Regions in England have been tested for antibodies to HIV-1 since June, 1988. 323,369 dried blood spots were analysed to end March, 1991. Prevalence of anti-HIV-1 in newborn babies has remained stable in outer London and non-metropolitan districts whereas prevalence in inner London has increased from 1 in 2000 in the 12 months beginning June, 1988, to 1 in 500 in the first 3 months of 1991. Either exponential or linear growth in the numbers of new seropositives could account for the results. That obstetricians were aware of maternal HIV infection in only 20% of infected pregnancies, indicates the extent to which HIV infection goes unrecognised in the heterosexual community.

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