Posts tagged: HIV/AIDS Awareness

HIV Drug Resistance: Refusing to Leave Without Putting Up a Fight

Years of transferring lab results from test tubes and Petri dishes out onto the dismal playing field of worldwide HIV infection has finally given us a one-up on the disease. Series and series of refinement to antiretroviral therapy (ART) and better prevention programs has indicated nothing but a dwindling battle against the virus. But HIV is battling back. They are developing resistance to our meticulously-perfected drugs. Drug resistance is, as implied in the name, the ability of a virus to withstand the effects of a given antiretroviral drug attempting to prevent its replication; it will continue to replicate in the presence of the drug.

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Preventing Mother to Child Transmission Needs Mercy and Compassion

Today, HIV/AIDS has become a disease that has knocked on the doors of almost every country in the world. Populations have had traumatic experiences that will be hard to forget any time soon. People have died living loved ones uncared for or to be the burdens of other family members. Young ones have died leaving behind elderly parents that have no one to care for them. If these stories are to stop we need to make sure that the next generation is saved. And for now, the surest way to go about it is by implementing PMTCT (Prevention of mother-to-child transmission) programs and using them as effectively as possible.

If that isn’t done then we will be facing a crisis where the infected children of tomorrow will have to face a horrible future. Even today, as the world has risen to fight against the disease, there are challenges in the form of ignorance, sheer hatred and weak mentality against the people living with HIV/AIDS that will make PMTCT of no use at all.

The simplest and most common effect of this is the stigmatization and discrimination that is being meted out to these poor souls in almost every part of the world. But, these two pale in comparison to the horror stories that are being told about the hell that children are being put through because they are HIV positive. While although not an excuse, one can understand harm coming to them from outside the home, these children are increasingly facing cruelty from their own families; the only people that they could trust and rely on for love and protection. Read more »

Today is National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

Let's empower communities and organizations to take action in the fight against HIV/AIDS

Far too many people think that HIV/AIDS is only a crisis in developing countries. Unfortunately, this is untrue. In March 2009, the state of Washington D.C reported an HIV prevalence of at least 3% among residents over 12 years old, a rate similar to those found in some parts of Sub-Saharan Africa.1 Today’s National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day in the US is a nationwide observance to raise awareness of the impact of HIV/AIDS on women and girls and encourage them to get tested. This is especially important in low-income communities where access to healthcare based education and prevention measures are typically inadequate. It is also a day therefore aimed at empowering communities and organizations to take action in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Read more »

Mother-to-child Transmission of HIV: The Way Forward

I live in Ethiopia. Ever since HIV/AIDS came out of nowhere and took center stage in the early 80’s, it  has managed to spread to every nook and cranny of the world and claim the lives of millions of mothers and children around us. In a country where we used to bury someone close almost every week, we have seen a big change: countries with the highest infection and mortality rates, like Ethiopia, have been able to slow down the HIV trend. Yet, sadly, there are still other countries in Sub-Saharan Africa where more needs to be done: in South Africa, for example, the infection rate of HIV among pregnant women has been reported to be as high as 29%, this has not changed much in many years1. Read more »

Mother-To-Child Transmission: The Preventable Facet of HIV

Less than half of pregnant women in Sub-Saharan Africa have access to antiretroviral treatment

Mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of HIV occurs when an HIV-positive mother infects her child during pregnancy, labor and delivery, or through breastfeeding. In 2008, a Global Summary of the AIDS Epidemic conducted by UNAIDS showed that 2.1 million children under 15 years of age were living with HIV. In this report, one of the nine goals set out for the 2009-2011 period Read more »

PMTCT: Preventing Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV

PMTCT is the acronym used to describe efforts and protocols to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission

Over the past five years, there has been a growing awareness of mother-to-child transmission of HIV due to a large and growing number of children in Africa living with HIV.  MTCT is the acronym used to describe the process of transmission of the HIV virus from infected mother to her child during pregnancy, delivery, or through breastfeeding.  PMTCT, or preventing mother-to-child transmission, is the acronym used to describe efforts and protocols to prevent MTCT.

PMTCT measures include education, support for women, avoidance of unwanted pregnancies, safe delivery practices (caesareans), antiretroviral therapy and the use of replacement breast milk formulas.  These are measures that have been proven in the Developed World to be effective at Read more »

Africa Is Dying Slowly Revisited

Less than half of HIV-positive pregnant women have access to antiretroviral treatment

Four years ago, I wrote an article about HIV in Africa.  Imbued with a sense of importance, and filled with the hope that my words would magically change the world, I titled it Africa is Dying Slowly, and called on humanity to do something about the crippling situation of HIV/AIDS on the African continent.  This may sound naïve. It certainly seems that way to me at times. Since I wrote that article in 2007, I have entered university to study history and political science. Learning about the repeated failures of mankind can certainly give oneself a negative and gloomy outlook on life. And yes, sometimes when I glance through that article, I do wonder what childish innocence led me to think that it might have any effect. However, I still see a glimmer of truth behind the flowery sentences and tearful pleas.

Here are the facts:[i] Read more »

HIV In Pregnancy: An Overview

In some countries, HIV infections have become one of the most common medical complications during pregnancy. More than 90% of HIV infections in children are caused by mother-to-child transmission. This amounts to 1,000 children becoming infected with HIV every day1.

Africa has been the centre of the mother-to-child HIV transmission epidemic. A rapid rise in infection rates has also been seen across South East Asia. Sources suggest that the rate of transmission of HIV from mother to child can be as high as 30% in the absence of treatment2, and can occur during three different stages of pregnancy:

  1. Within the uterus (Very low chance. This is affected by mother’s overall health)
  2. During labor and delivery (15%-30% chance2)
  3. Post partum through breastfeeding. (5%-20% chance2)

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Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV/AIDS

Between the birthing process and breastfeeding, it is thought that as many as 25-35% of HIV infected women will pass HIV to their babies.1 Considering that there are at least 10 million HIV infected women in Africa, this is a crippling statistic and should be seen as entirely unacceptable in this day and age.2 In North America, the CDC estimates that there are over one million Americans living with HIV with one in five of those people unaware that they are infected and carriers.3 Assuming that half of this population of one million are women, and many of these are of child bearing age, Mother-to-Child transmission (MTCT) is very much a global health issue, not just a Developing Country one. Read more »

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