Missed Opportunities for Preventing Perinatal Transmission of Human Immunodeficiency Virus, Florida, 2007-2014

South Med J. 2017 Feb;110(2):116-128. doi: 10.14423/SMJ.0000000000000609.


Objectives: Despite declining numbers of perinatally exposed infants, an increase in perinatal human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections from 2011 to 2013 prompted this study to identify missed perinatal HIV prevention opportunities.

Methods: Deidentified records of children born from 2007 through 2014, exposed to HIV perinatally, and reported to the Florida Department of Health were obtained. Crude relative risks (RRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for factors associated with perinatal transmission, nondiagnosis of maternal HIV infection, and nonreceipt of antiretroviral medication were calculated.

Results: Of the 4337 known singleton births exposed to maternal HIV infection, 70 (1.6%) were perinatally infected. Among perinatal transmission cases, more than one-third of mothers used illegal drugs or acquired a sexually transmitted infection during pregnancy. Perinatal transmission was most strongly associated with maternal HIV diagnosis during labor and delivery (RR 5.66, 95% CI 2.31-13.91) or after birth (RR 26.50, 95% CI 15.44-45.49) compared with antenatally or prenatally. Among the 29 women whose infection was not known before pregnancy and whose child was perinatally infected, 18 were not diagnosed during pregnancy; 12 had evidence of an acute HIV infection, and 6 had no prenatal care.

Conclusions: Late diagnosis of maternal HIV infection appeared to be primarily the result of acute maternal infections and inadequate prenatal care. In Florida, effective programs to improve utilization of prenatal care and detection and primary prevention of prenatal acute infection are needed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anti-HIV Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Delayed Diagnosis / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Florida / epidemiology
  • HIV Infections* / diagnosis
  • HIV Infections* / drug therapy
  • HIV Infections* / epidemiology
  • HIV Infections* / transmission
  • Health Services Misuse / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infectious Disease Transmission, Vertical* / prevention & control
  • Infectious Disease Transmission, Vertical* / statistics & numerical data
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious* / diagnosis
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious* / drug therapy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious* / epidemiology
  • Prenatal Care* / methods
  • Prenatal Care* / standards
  • Prenatal Care* / statistics & numerical data
  • Quality Improvement


  • Anti-HIV Agents