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Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection is spreading in the heterosexual population, with the result that pregnant women are increasingly affected (the number infected in inner London has risen from 1 in 2000 to 1 in 500 in the last two years). Some babies acquire their mother’s infection by the time they are born; there is also evidence that babies may be at risk of infection from breast feeding.

This POSTnote reviews recent scientific evidence on the transmission of HIV from infected mothers to their babies and the implications.

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