HIV-positive children in the territory, orphaned by AIDS, are expected to number more than 100 within five years. The grim projection, drawn by Professor James Chin of the University of California at Berkeley, has prompted a campaign urging pregnant women to have HIV tests to shield their babies from infection. The Hong Kong AIDS Scenario and Surveillance Research report by Professor Chin, former chief of the World Health Organisation's global AIDS Surveillance, Forecasting and Impact Assessment Unit, predicts 136 infants will be HIV-infected by 2000. More than 300 children are expected to become maternal orphans, following the AIDS deaths of their mothers. Those with HIV face short but difficult lives of illness, wasting and apparent mental retardation. Queen Mary Hospital paediatrician Dr Lau Yu-lung said medical experts were already caring for two Hong Kong babies infected by their mothers. 'We are all learning how to deal with this group of children, and physicians who have a lot of experience are interacting with us,' Dr Lau said. Of the two infants under hospital care, one is a HIV-positive baby and the other is a toddler who has developed full-blown AIDS. 'The one with AIDS will be put on the full anti-viral treatment and the baby will be put on drugs to prevent one of the opportunistic infections which are a major killer in the United States,' Dr Lau said. 'It [the opportunistic infection] is a lung infection and in America it has killed a lot of babies with HIV in the last 10 years. 'They lose their skills. Where they could talk, now they can't; where they could walk, now they can't. In children it hits the brain really hard,' Dr Lau said. The Social Welfare Department would have to take action in cases where parents died of AIDS, seeking to place the children with close relatives. If relatives refused to take the children they would come under government care. About 15 to 20 per cent of infected children would die in their first few years, but others would survive much longer. Doctors can cut the risk of mother-to-child transmission by doses of drugs such as AZT and other precautions such as delivering by caesarean section and preventing breast-feeding.