Mother-to-child HIV down

The transmission of HIV from mother-to-child has decreased, the department of health and social development announced.

"The introduction of multi-dose therapy to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV resulted in a marked decrease in children born with HIV," said departmental spokesman Simon Zwane.

He was presenting the department's detailed plans alluded to in Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane's state of the province address.

In a statement, Zwane said the transmission rate dropped from 8% to below 3% in the Soweto and Coronation catchment areas.

Target is less than 5%

"Our target is to reduce the transmission rate of HIV to less than 5% across the province in 2011, and the Soweto-Bara model will be expanded to Ekurhuleni and Sedibeng in 2011/12."

He said that by the end of November 2010, the department had registered more than 358,000 people on anti-retroviral treatment. This was achieved through extending this service to primary healthcare facilities.

"Last year alone we increased the number of public health facilities providing this treatment to 206."

He said by the end of April 2012, about 520,000 people would be able to access the treatment at 366 public health facilities.

Since the launch of the HIV counselling and treatment campaign by President Jacob Zuma in April 2010, more than a million people have been tested.

Zwane said the department would focus strongly on male circumcision this year because it assisted in reducing transmission of HIV.

"We will continue to encourage the people of Gauteng to know their HIV status and to take appropriate measures depending on their status," he said.

(Sapa, February 2011)

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