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Testing Times

The importance of identifying HIV infections before it's too late

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8:50pm, November 23, 2003

The 27-year-old woman had just delivered a healthy baby girl at Cook County Hospital in Chicago when obstetrician Julie B. Schmidt entered the maternity suite bearing bad news. Just an hour earlier, in the throes of labor, the young woman had consented to an HIV test. Now, Schmidt had the result. As gently as possible, the doctor told the mother she had the virus. The new information demanded immediate action: With the right course of drugs and a dose of luck, the newborn could be saved from infection.

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