SA nearly wipes out infant transmission

2011-06-09 14:51

Cape Town - South Africa's programme to prevent HIV in babies has achieved a 96.5% success rate in wiping out transmission from infected pregnant mothers, the Medical Research Council said on Thursday.

An inaugural national evaluation survey among the world's biggest Aids population tested 9 915 infants at public clinics, of whom 31.4% were exposed to the virus but only 3.5% tested positive, the government research body said.

"This survey was the first-ever rigorous national... evaluation in the nine provinces of South Africa," said Ameena Goga of the MRC.

New guidelines

Infection rates among mothers ranged from 15.6% in the sparsely populated Northern Cape to 43.9% in KwaZulu-Natal, which is the hardest hit region in the country.

Babies aged between four and eight weeks between June and December last year were tested at 580 sites across South Africa.

The study will be repeated this year and in 2012 to evaluate transmission rates over three years and the babies will be tracked up until they are 18 months old.

Last year, South Africa introduced new anti-Aids drugs guidelines that include treatment for mothers at an earlier stage of illness.

The government was previously heavily criticised for refusing to roll out the life-saving drugs, but 1.4 million people are now on treatment.

The virus infects 5.6 million of the 50-million population, according to UN estimates.

  • Dundermoose - 2011-06-09 15:21

    Congratulations!!! Now on to the next problem - what do we do with all the aids orphans?

      Anonymous Thinker - 2011-06-09 18:13

      Also how to educate people on using condoms or abstinence so that there aren't so many infections.

  • seanfaria - 2011-06-09 15:21

    Good work !

  • Yaseen - 2011-06-09 15:37

    Well done ANC !!!!

      sjackson - 2011-06-09 15:46

      Its the MRC not ANC

  • FpeT - 2011-06-09 15:49

    This is truly outstanding! Well done to PMTCT! The health department is really doing a good job when it comes to HIV/AIDS!

  • michael - 2011-06-09 15:51

    just take a shower.

  • Queteepie - 2011-06-09 15:52

    All good and well, but lets hope these babies grow up to be aids free adults. They have been given a second chance, hopefully they take advantage of it and lead healthy lives.

  • DW - 2011-06-09 16:42

    I am so glad. Our previous health minister (who had a liver transplant which was meant for someone else, and then continued drinking, thus ruining the new liver resulting in her demise) did everything in her power to stop pregnant mothers getting medication to prevent mother to child tranmission. More HIV tranmission to children are due to her (and Thabo Mbeki's) policies than anyone else. They simply did not believe that AIDS existed. Now that they no longer have any fingers in the pie, the rate has come down. But thousands of children were unnecessarily infected due to their quackery.

  • Anonymous Thinker - 2011-06-09 18:26

    And now that the babies aren't getting infected these parents can go on to leave behind many children when they die. Its wonderful that the children are at less risk of infection, but what about the education of the adults? About safe sex and family planning. Ie: planned children that the parents can financially care for.

  • Lekker Jan - 2011-06-10 03:15

    So now SA's unemployment figure can really soar!

  • Frungy - 2011-06-10 04:58

    *Sigh* Can no-one do maths anymore? 9915 infants. 31.4% exposed (3113 infants). 3.5% HIV positive (347). Of the 3113 possible infections 347 actually became HIV positive. That's an 11.15% infection rate. The "normal" mother-to-child transmission rate is 15 to 25%. In developed countries like the U.S. they've got it down to less than 1%. There is NOTHING to congratulate here. Firstly the statistic in this article is WRONG, the "success rate" (i.e. non-transmission) is 88.85%, not 95%. 88.85% is only about 4 percentage points better than doing nothing and about 10 percentage points WORSE than what we should be capable of doing. Would someone please ban this reporter from ever reporting on anything medical EVER again?

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