The transmission of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) from infected mothers to their infants has been well established. The majority of infants so infected are born to women who have acquired HIV through IV drug use or through sexual contact with IV drug-using partners. Some of these mothers are unable to care for their infants. In addition, many infected mothers become seriously ill or die, leaving children who must be cared for by others. Thus, many infants and children who are infected or are at high risk for infection may require placement in an adoptive or foster care setting. The HIV-infected infant or child places a serious burden on any family.

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