HIV/AIDS during pregnancy

Chicken pox is yet another infection that pregnant women can be prone to. However, if the mother has had chicken pox before, there is no risk to the baby. This is because it is likely that the mother has already developed antibodies. On the other hand, the unborn baby might be at risk if the mother got chicken pox before the 20th week. If the mother got chicken pox a week before delivery until the next month, the baby might get infected (Women’s Health Information, 2008). Nonetheless, these threats of infections can be prevented through treatment.

Moreover, present researches and studies about infections look into how infections can be further prevented from appearing. Gregory Storch, a professor of pediatrics, medicine and molecular microbiology, through Pediatric AIDS Clinical Trials Unit (PACTU), spearheaded clinical trials in studying infectious diseases. The clinical trials are accessible to teens and children with HIV infection. During the clinical trial, drug and drug combinations are tested to fight the virus. The unit, wherein Storch was the director, also studied how to “reduce the transmission of HIV from infected pregnant women to their babies” (Ward, 2002).

The clinical trials have been a big help to the patients, which include older children or teenagers, and later on included infant patients. Through the unit, about five per cent of infants born to mothers with HIV got infected with the disease, compared to 25-30% of infants when there were no clinical trials. This improvement in the number of infants who gets infected can be attributed to the success of drug treatments in preventing the transmission of HIV from the mother to her baby. Moreover, drug combinations in 1996 have labeled HIV as a chronic illness, treated with medication, and not terminal (Ward, 2002).

Moreover, the clinical trials have led to medications that prolong life and improve the quality of it. For instance, children who have HIV infection can enjoy going to school and doing activities, things that they would not be able to do if there were no advanced medications for the illness. However, this is still does not to confirm that those who are infected with HIV will have bright future ahead of them. The problem is that children with HIV may have viruses that are resistant to the medications. Doctors hoped that there would be new medications developed for such viruses.

Once these medications are introduced, they will be tested in clinical trials for more study into drugs and drug combinations (Ward, 2002). Furthermore, Storch studied how to develop molecular techniques so that the diagnosis of infectious diseases, and other infections that are hard to uncover can be further improved. Under his direction, his laboratory led in using polymerase chain reaction (PRC), a technique used specifically in detecting signs of infectious diseases. The PRC is advantageous in detecting DNA and RNA from bodily fluids.

Moreover, it can detect the presence of HIV in infants or other infections such as viral meningitis, herpes simplex encephalitis, and cytomegalovirus. Storch declared that through PRC, infectious diseases which have been hard to discover before were now easy to discover through molecular methods (Duke, n. d. ). Storch’s researches were not just focused on how infectious diseases can be cured. He also tried to determine the role of the infectious agent in immune-compromised patients. The researches further expanded due to the increasing number of patients with AIDS.

Through a grant, the Project ARK or AIDS/HIV Resources for Kids was established. This project aims to integrate psychosocial, medical and educational services for children who are infected with HIV. Project ARK enabled PACTU in taking care of their patients (Duke, n. d. ). During pregnancy, women develop infections which can be passed on to their unborn child either during pregnancy or during delivery. These infections include cough, colds and flu; vaginal infections, which include thrush and Group B Streptococcus; sexually transmitted infections include Chlamydia, gonorrhea, and HIV; herpes; toxoplasmosis, and; chicken pox.

Without the proper treatment, these infections can affect the baby when the virus is passed on to them. Fortunately, these infections can be better treated with the help of researches and clinical trials. Gregory Storch, a professor who specialized in infectious diseases, opened the Pediatric AIDS Clinical Trials Unit (PACTU), a medical unit that conducts trials on drugs and drug combinations that can help patients to have an improved quality of life despite their physical conditions.


Baby Center. (2005, June). Chlamydia during pregnancy. Retrieved December 8, 2008, from http://www. babycenter. com/0_chlamydia-during-pregnancy_1427376. bc Baby Center. (2005, June). Gonorrhea during pregnancy. Retrieved December 8, 2008, from http://www. babycenter. com/0_gonorrhea-during-pregnancy_1427382. bc Baby Center. (2006, June). HIV/AIDS during pregnancy. Retrieved December 8, 2008, from http://www. babycenter. com/0_hiv-aids-during-pregnancy_1427384. bc Brannon, H. (2008). Herpes and pregnancy. About. com. Retrieved December 8, 2008, from http://dermatology. about. com/cs/pregnancy/a/hsv_preg. htm Duke, D. (n. d. ).

Storch tracks down infectious diseases. Retrieved December 8, 2008, from http://record. wustl. edu/archive/1996/11-21-96/5260. html MedicineNet. (2004). Definition of infection. Retrieved December 8, 2008, from http://www. medterms. com/script/main/art. asp? articlekey=12923 Ward, D. E. (2002). New unit offers new hope. Washington University. Retrieved December 8, 2008 http://record. wustl. edu/2002/09-06-02/newunit. html Women’s Health Information. (2008). Infections during pregnancy. Retrieved December 8, 2008, from http://www. womens-health. co. uk/infect. asp

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