Abstract In 2009, 2.5 million children under the age of 15 y were living with human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immune deficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS); 370,000 were diagnosed with HIV and 260,000 died due to AIDS. More than 90% of the children infected with HIV live in sub-Saharan Africa. Most children infected with HIV contract the infection in utero, during delivery, or via breast milk. This review outlines the current diagnostic methods to determine the HIV status of infants born to HIV-infected mothers. The HIV DNA and RNA polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests are highly accurate and are recommended as the first-choice diagnostic methods. However, they are expensive and require complex laboratory procedures. Consequently, a search for less costly and complicated methods has led to the testing of p24 antigen analyses as an alternative to the gold-standard PCR tests, with encouraging results. The p24 antigen Perkin Elmer assay currently most often used has a sensitivity of 98.8% and a specificity of 100% (infants 6 weeks of age). Larger-scale studies should be performed in resource-limited settings to confirm these findings.
Scandinavian Journal of Infectious Diseases, 2012, Vol 44, Issue 3, p. 209-15