Up to 80,000 women of child-bearing age may carry the AIDS virus, and about 2,000 babies each year will develop the disease, according to a study published Wednesday.

Principal author Dr. Marta Gwinn of the Centers for Disease Control and colleagues from several government agencies studied blood tests from more than 1.8 million infants born from 1988 to 1990 in 38 states and Washington, D.C.They found that 2,382 babies tested positive for AIDS antibodies, meaning their mothers, but not necessarily the babies, carried the virus. Blood tests do not accurately indicate AIDS in babies because infants carry their mothers' antibodies for months.