Nine percent of pregnant girls HIV positive – survey

2011-11-29 11:15

Nine percent of pregnant girls between the ages of 10 and 14 years, surveyed in the National Antenatal Sentinel HIV and Syphilis Prevalence Survey, are HIV positive.

Out of 121 pregnant girls, 9.1% were HIV positive, according to the results of the latest survey, released in Pretoria today.

Dr Thabang Mosala, who heads the health department’s epidemiology and surveillance unit, said this was serious cause for concern. “We need to strengthen our surveillance in this age group. Nine percent is a huge figure,” she said.

The Western Cape has shown an increase in HIV prevalence among pregnant women for the first time since the start of Aids surveillance in South Africa.

The proportion of HIV-positive pregnant women in the Western Cape increased from 16.9% (16.9% of pregnant women surveyed in the province were HIV positive) to 18.5% last year.

Although this is a slight increase, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said it should be viewed in a serious light. “We are not certain if the World Cup played a role in the increase in HIV prevalence in Western Cape, Mpumalanga and Eastern Cape. All I am saying is that researchers need to investigate this,” he said.

The overall HIV prevalence in pregnant women increased from 29.4% in 2009 to 30.2% in 2010. KwaZulu-Natal has the highest rate (39.5%), followed closely by Mpumalanga (35.1%).

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