The number of newborns infected by vertical transmission of the human immunodeficiency virus is increasing as HIV-positive women increase within the United States. It is estimated that while seven thousand HIV-positive women become pregnant each year, between one thousand and two thousand of their newborns will be HIV-positive. This paper will concentrate on the transmission of the human immunodeficiency virus from mother to child, the benefits of drugs intervention, and whether or not the HIV-screening process of pregnant women should remain voluntary or become mandatory. The HIV-virus has proven that it is not a disease to be taken lightly or ignored. I chose this topic because I want to be informed about the virus and its rate of vertical transmission so that I will be able to inform others about such ethical topics: Does the baby have rights and should a pregnant woman be denied her right to privacy with respect to HIV? Data shows that AIDS is now increasing faster among females than males, with women accounting for seven percent of cases in 1985 and nineteen percent in 1995. .
The incidences of HIV-positive heterosexual women have risen dramatically over the past decade, and AIDS is now the third leading cause of death among women ages twenty-five to forty-four. The one thing that all of these women have in common is that they all are of child bearing age. Consequently, the incidences of HIV-positive newborns have also increased. As mentioned previously, about seven thousand HIV-infected women give birth each year, and about twenty-five percent of their babies are HIV-positive. "Maternal transmission accounted for ninety-two percent of all new AIDS cases reported in children in 1994"(Davis15). A major breakthrough in drug intervention began in February 1993. The AIDS Clinical Trials Group administered a double-blinded, randomized, placebo-controlled study of zidovudine, also known as AST.