Missed opportunities in the prevention of perinatal human immunodeficiency syndrome virus transmission

Judy Levison, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Mother to child transmission of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) has decreased dramatically in the United States since the mid-1990s. Without antiretroviral therapy the risk of perinatal infection is as high as 25%; with treatment the risk drops to <1-2%. However, state surveillance data show a recent rise in the percentage of babies being born with HIV in Texas. No studies of perinatal HIV transmission in Texas have focused on the individual cases and identified what social/institutional barriers stood in the way of the index woman, her support system and her health providers in negotiating access to prenatal care and HIV treatment. The Texas Department of State Health Services identifies the babies born in Texas with HIV infection. This two year study will use mixed methods to identify barriers to the diagnosis and treatment of maternal HIV. In-depth interviews and chart reviews will be used to conduct the study. The abstracted medical record will give us demographic data and details of the timing of testing and treatment; interviews will provide information as to the individual and environmental factors that may have delayed testing and treatment. Little research has been done to assess the factors contributing to late prenatal HIV diagnosis and care in Texas and the interventions identified by mothers of affected babies that might overcome these obstacles. Conclusions from this study will guide the development of interventions to better educate the public, reduce structural barriers common to the underserved, and/or educate health care professionals. The study will also serve as a model for other states to undertake evaluation of their cases of perinatal infection.

Subject Area


Recommended Citation

Levison, Judy, "Missed opportunities in the prevention of perinatal human immunodeficiency syndrome virus transmission" (2010). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1480382.