To assess the risk of mother-to-infant transmission of hepatitis C virus (HCV), we followed up 116 babies of anti-HCV positive mothers, of whom 22 were coinfected with HIV and 94 had HCV alone. None of the babies whose mothers had HCV alone acquired HCV, while 8 babies (36%; p < 0.001) of mothers co-infected with HIV acquired HCV (5 babies) or HCV and HIV (3). There was no association between any specific maternal HCV genotype and enhanced risk of neonatal infection. HCV-RNA levels were significantly higher (p < 0.05) in mothers with HIV coinfection than in those with HCV alone. These data indicate that maternal HIV status correlates with enhanced level of viraemia which favours neonatal infection.