Current Public Health Policy is Killing Newborn Children

A recent multicenter study supervised by the CDC has revealed that AZT, administered to pregnant, HIV-infected women and their newborn children, will dramatically reduce the incidence of congenital HIV disease. Carrying out a carefully documented and well-controlled double-blind study in more than 50 medical centers, HIV-infected expectant mothers were enrolled in this experimental study.
One group of HIV-infected women received AZT during the course of their pregnancies while the second group received a placebo made to look like AZT. None of the treating physicians knew which woman received AZT until the code was broken at the end of the study. Analysis of the results revealed that 25% of children born to mothers who received the placebo (imitation AZT) were infected while only 8% of children born to mothers who received AZT had congenital HIV disease.
Thus the CDC study conclusively demonstrated a three-fold reduction in the incidence of HIV infection among children whose mothers were treated with AZT during their pregnancies. This study represents one of the greatest scientific advances since the onset of the HIV epidemic.
Today physicians have an effective means of reducing the number of HIV-infected children. Physicians should now be able to save the lives of thousands of children in America and possibly millions of children throughout the world who would otherwise be infected in utero. That is, physicians could save the lives of newborns if they were allowed to know, early during the course of pregnancy, which mothers were infected. However, tragically, that will not happen in many instances in America. . . . . WHY?. . . . . . Despite this dramatic advance in medical technology, and the ready availability of AZT treatment that will protect two thirds of unborn infants from HIV disease (and the slow, painful, demented, premature death that follows), AIDS and Gay activists continue to oppose mandatory prenatal and neonatal HIV testing.
During the month of April 1994, several months after release of the CDC study revealing that congenital HIV disease was largely preventable, a bill to require prenatal HIV testing in Florida was blocked by political pressure from Gay and AIDS activists. These groups have consistently worked to oppose all efforts by responsible public health officers and physicians to introduce mandatory prenatal or neonatal testing, mandatory reportability of HIV seropositivity or any other standard public health techniques that could be readily used to slow the spread of HIV disease in our nation and throughout the world.
It has been known for almost a decade that hundreds of new born infants are becoming secondarily infected in New York City every year because mothers are not told that they are HIV-infected, and infectious to their children. All mothers in New York City are routinely secretly tested in order to track the course of the epidemic and compile statistics. Yet infected mothers are never told of their infections, supposedly because of fear of breaching confidentiality restrictions (????). Thus infected mothers are routinely allowed to breast feed their children and a significant number of uninfected children became secondarily infected after birth from HIV-infected breast milk. Then mothers are allowed to take their infected children home, but they are not told that their children may be infected. If the mothers were told of their infections and the possibility that their children might be infected, the children could be monitored and placed under treatment.
Indeed, early treatment of HIV-infected children appears to significantly prolong their lives. In a report from the Children's Hospital in New Orleans by Beth Scalco, the author noted that early anti-viral treatment of children can prolong both life and quality of life. Children who had been found to be HIV-infected at birth, or shortly after birth, had been maintained on treatment and under careful medical supervision. Some of the children were over 12 years old at the time the article was published in 1992. (1)
Thus physicians have effective treatments for children who are known to be infected. The tragedy is that both prenatal and neonatal HIV testing have been consistently blocked by political activists who seem much more concerned with imposing their political agenda on this nation than with saving the lives of unborn and newborn children.
(1) AIDS WEEKLY, May 4, 1992. , page 7. P. O. Box 830409, Birmingham, Alabama, 35283-0409

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