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9/10 Gauteng births HIV-free

2010-08-31 22:42

Johannesburg - Nine out of 10 children born to HIV-positive mothers in Gauteng do not have HIV, the provincial health department said on Tuesday.

"The prevention of mother-to-child-transmission programme has achieved a reduction in the percentage of children who are HIV infected," Gauteng health and social development MEC Qedani Mahlangu told a press briefing in Johannesburg.

"In 2008 the rate (of mother to child transmissions) ranged from 8% to 10.6%, and this was reduced to a rate of 5.1% to 7.2% in 2009. This means that nine out of ten children born to HIV-positive mothers do not have HIV."

From April this year HIV-positive pregnant mothers qualified to be on the programme at 14 weeks of pregnancy, instead of 28 weeks, and all women with a CD4 count of 350 or less, or with Aids-defining symptoms, qualified for antiretroviral therapy.

"An additional 17 508 people were enrolled in the antiretroviral component of our comprehensive HIV and Aids treatment and care programme in the first quarter of this financial year."

The department aimed to reduce new HIV infections by 50% by 2011.

In April the department launched an HIV counselling and testing campaign and had tested 502 882 people since then.

It aimed to reach 1.5 million people and in the coming months would take the campaign to hostels, public transport hubs and shopping malls.