Friday, 11 May 2007

A vicious circle

In Africa, one of the most straightforward ways of establishing HIV infection rates is by screening pregnant women when they attend ante-natal clinics. For some however this appears to promote the idea that there is a link between HIV infection and women, and this is reinforced when the statistics are quoted, as they often are. In addition many don’t realise they are HIV positive until they are screened so the first a family may know of their HIV status is through the mother.

Disastrously, in Mozambique it has led to women who find they are HIV positive being abandoned by their families. Because they fear what might happen, women are either refusing to be tested, or hiding their HIV status from their husbands and families. In both cases, those that need anti-retroviral drugs and help in preventing mother to child transmission are not receiving them, nor are they able to take precautions against further spread of the virus.

It is estimated there are 30,000 HIV positive babies born every year in Mozambique.

Original report from IRIN

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