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Diagnostic testing for HIV infection in infants and children younger than 18 months

Susan L Gillespie, MD, PhD
Section Editor
Mary E Paul, MD
Deputy Editor
Carrie Armsby, MD, MPH


Readily available diagnostic tests that rely on detection of antibody to HIV virus are not reliable in infants and young children because of the persistence of transplacentally acquired maternal antibody. For this reason, more sophisticated and often more expensive testing is necessary to diagnose HIV infection in this population.

This topic reviews the strategy for diagnosing HIV infection in infants and young children of mothers with known HIV infection or of uncertain HIV serostatus. The diagnosis of HIV infection in adults and older children (older than age 18 months) and strategies for screening during pregnancy to prevent mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of HIV are discussed separately:

(See "Screening and diagnostic testing for HIV infection".)

(See "Prevention of HIV transmission during breastfeeding in resource-limited settings".)

(See "Antiretroviral and intrapartum management of pregnant HIV-infected women and their infants in resource-rich settings".)

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Nov 10, 2017.
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