Questions About HIV and Other Infections

Do infants and children contract HIV infections (AIDS)?

Unfortunately, approximately 7,900 infants and children in this country have been diagnosed with this disease. Some of these cases have occurred in children who receive blood products prior to the time that there was universal testing of the blood supply. Virtually all new cases of HIV infection in children in this country now result from transmission of the virus from the infected mother to the infant before and during the birth process.

How many infants and children have contracted HIV infection from infected health care personnel?

There is not a single instance of an infant or child contracting HIV infection from an infected health care worker who was not their parent.

What is the single most effective thing that a hospital can do to prevent its patients from acquiring an infection during hospitalization?

As the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) has repeatedly said, the single most important thing that a hospital can do to prevent its patients and personnel from contracting an infection during the time that they are in the hospital is to institute a program of UNIVERSAL PRECAUTIONS and assure that it is enforced.

What is the most important question that I can ask my child's doctor if I am concerned about the possibility of him/her transmitting a serious infection?

Ask them if they practice universal precautions and if the hospital where they will admit your child has a good infection control program and a UNIVERSAL PRECAUTIONS POLICY.

If tests for HIV are not 100% effective, what is the likelihood that blood contains HIV virus?

Carefully conducted studies indicate that the likelihood that a unit of blood in the United States containing HIV is approximately 2 in 1,000,000. The risk of your child being killed or seriously injured in a motor vehicle while traveling to a hospital or doctor's office is much larger. Please be certain that you enforce the use of child restraints when your child is in your car or truck.