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A recent state Department of Health study found a 78 percent decline in mother-to-infant HIV transmission rates in New York State between 1997 and 2002. The study found that only 2.4 percent of infants born to mothers infected with HIV tested positive for the virus in 2002, compared with 10.9 percent in 1997. According to Rafael Ortega, Director of Treatment Education at the National AIDS Treatment Advocacy Project in New York, this rapid decline in transmission rates is due to more aggressive screenings of mothers-to-be. Health care workers standardized HIV testing of the newborns of HIV-positive women a few years ago, when the Department of Health added the virus to the list of conditions for which infants are tested. [06/14/04]

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