NINETY five per cent of children with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) acquired it through parent to child transmission (PTCT), an official says.
Health specialist at United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (Unicef) Dr Gabra Safiyanu said PTCT was the transmission of HIV from an infected parent to the baby during pregnancy, labour, delivery and breast feeding.
Dr Safiyanu said this could be reduced through the Prevention of Parent-to-Child Transmission (PPTCT) programme.
“Perinatal transmission can be reduced to as low as two per cent with a fully-functional PPTCT programme,” he said.
“As long as women are not tested and put on ART, more babies will be infected with HIV.”
He has encouraged pregnant women to get tested during antenatal clinics to prevent babies from HIV and reduce the PTCT transmission of HIV.
“Get tested for HIV and other disease,” he said.
“During delivery, deliver vaginally and deliver at a health facility.” He said that the baby should be tested three times to confirm that he/she is not infected.
The first test, he said, would be done at sixth weeks, second one at 12 weeks and then the last.
Dr Safiyanu said the four elements of the PPTC programme that would help in reducing the number of PTCT were primary prevention of HIV infection; prevention of unintended pregnancies among women infected with HIV, whether their status is known or not; prevention of HIV transmission from parents infected with HIV to their infants; and provision of treatment, care, support to women infected with HIV, their infants and their families.
These efforts should help reduce the rise in infection rates.
The National / PNG health Watch
PNG Health News
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