Testing Cord Blood Human Chorionic Gonadotropin as a Surrogate Marker for Early Identification of Human Immunodeficiency Virus-1 Infection in Children

Sharon A. Nachman, Fred I. Chasalow, Maryam Navaie-Waliser, Sandra L. Blethen, Pamela Tropper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations


We measured human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) in cord sera of 22 infants born to women infected with the human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV-1). hCG was also determined in cord sera from 173 infants born at a suburban hospital to HIV-1-seronegative women. The findings indicate that 16 (9%) of 173 HIV-1-seronegative samples had hCG levels greater than 90 IU/L (values were distributed as a Poisson curve). In contrast, 8 (36%) of the 22 infants born to HIV-1-infected women had hCG levels in excess of 90 IU/L, and 7 (88%) of these were shown to be HIV-infected. The remaining 14 infants born to HIV-1-infected women had low hCG levels, and 3 (21%) of the 14 had HIV infection. Mean follow-up time for HIV-uninfected infants was 17.5 months (range 9 months to 3 years). A statistically significant association between maternal-fetal HIV-1 transmission and hCG levels ≥90 IU/L in cord sera was observed (p = 0.02). The difference between CD4 counts among mothers who transmitted HIV and those who did not was also statistically significant (p = 0.025). On the basis of this study's findings, we propose that cord blood hCG may serve as a surrogate marker for HIV-1 infection. Testing hCG levels in cord sera is an inexpensive and readily available screening test for early identification of infants at increased risk for getting HIV-1 from their mothers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)449-454
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Perinatology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 1996


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

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