Despite one of the highest perinatal HIV exposure rates in the state, no HIV-infected babies were born in Northeast Florida in 2012, according to preliminary data from the Florida Department of Health, HIV Prevention Section.
More than 54 babies — 46 of them in Jacksonville — were born to HIV+ mothers last year. The five-county area had an HIV exposure rate of 3.10 per 1,000 births, compared to 2.15 per 1,000 births statewide. County-specific rates in the region ranged from zero in St. Johns County to 3.7 per 1,000 births in Duval.
Mother-to-infant HIV transmission is effectively prevented through HIV testing and screening early in pregnancy, appropriate use of antiretroviral medications for the mother and baby and safe infant feeding practices. Despite the availability of preventive measures, five babies were born HIV-infected in Florida during 2012.
The CDC has a goal of eliminating mother-to-infect HIV transmission by 2015. Northeast Florida piloted an adaptation of the Fetal and Infant Mortality Review (FIMR) process to examine the pregnancies of HIV+ women in 2008. No HIV-infected infant has been born in the region since 2009.
Care for HIV+ women, infants and families is provided in Northeast Florida through the University of Florida Center for HIV/AIDS Research, Education and Service (UF CARES) at Shands Jacksonville. UF CARES administers a range of prevention and treatment programs, including the Targeted Outreach for Pregnant Women Act (TOPWA) program.