Article by Clem Richardson of NY Daily News
Thousands of young New York City residents are living with a legacy of the 1990s – HIV and AIDS infections.
It’s a legacy Dr. Rodney Wright is working to end.
One of the by-products of the crack cocaine and Human Immunodeficiency Virus epidemics that ravaged the city in the early 1990s was the birth of hundreds of HIV-infected babies.
In 1990, some 340 HIV-infected babies were born here.
Now many of those babies are grown and having children themselves, as are many HIV-positive women – the majority of them African-American and Hispanic – who do not even know they are HIV-positive until they are tested as part of their prenatal care.
“Statistically, there definitely is a high racial and ethnic disparity in terms of where the cases are,” Wright said. “African-Americans make up about 14% to 16% of the [U.S.] population, but African-American women make up between 65% and 70% of HIV cases.”
Wright, HIV program director in the Division of Maternal Fetal Medicine at Montefiore Medical Center/Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, heads a program that has enjoyed remarkable success in making sure infected mothers do not pass HIV on to their babies.
“I see just over 100 HIV-positive women a year,” Wright said. “Of the women who have taken their medications and done the things we asked, none of them have had HIV-positive babies.”