Preventing Mother-to-Child HIV Transmission (PMTCT): A Common Fight

In 2009 it was estimated that there were 2.5 million children living with HIV/AIDS [1]. This heartbreaking number is 2.5 million more than it should be. Sadly, it is anyone’s guess how many of these infections could have been averted by the prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV.

PMTCT is the acronym used to describe the efforts and protocols used in the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV. Although PMTCT may at first seem a bit complicated, there are some steps like educating mothers-to-be, testing them for HIV, informing them of breast milk substitutes, following safer delivery practices and giving them access to anti-retroviral drugs and treatments. These measures can substantially cut down rates of mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of HIV.

PMTCT has been recognized as one of the best ways to combat HIV/AIDS, especially in the fight for the lives of children. And with that recognition, the efforts to implement PMTCT have been stepped up globally. For example, in 2005 the percentage of HIV infected women who had access to treatment in developing countries was only 15%. This percentage grew to 23% in just one year, and by 2009 it was 53% [2].

Surprisingly, two of the most successful countries that have been able to show great progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS, with the help of PMTCT, are here in Africa – Botswana and Uganda. These two countries had some of the highest rates of HIV/AIDS infection. The success story in Uganda was made possible by grassroot efforts in making treatments and education accessible. To achieve this, the number of PMTCT health clinics was raised significantly. This allowed the people living in rural areas to have access to PMTCT, education, testing and counseling [3]. The way Botswana took was to make sure that it had good PMTCT programs. Incidentally, it became so good that it is now one of the most effective programs in developing countries. Using this program, with the full backing of the Botswanan government and a robust Maternal Child Health and Family Planning system, the country was able to make major advances in the fight against HIV [4].

We can see today that slowly, but steadily, the world is learning to fight back against a disease that was once seen as the plague that would wipe humanity out. Statistics show that some countries around the world are making progress in the fight, while others are still fighting an uphill battle. This variance in success can only be narrowed down in one way: by going at it together. The sharing of experiences between nations and/or organizations that are in the common fight against this disease will save time and precious lives, by not having to re-invent the wheel in each country.

The fate that awaits us is a common one, and we will sink or float together. HIV/AIDS has shown us that it is restricted by no boundaries. We too, should have none.

  1. AVERT:
  2. AVERT:
  3. AVERT:
  4. AVERT:

Image Via Flickr

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

One Response to “Preventing Mother-to-Child HIV Transmission (PMTCT): A Common Fight”

  1. Kelly says:

    The re:solve AIDS project is raising money to get a promising AIDS vaccine through human testing so that it can be produced and made available to the public. Check it out

Leave a Reply

Staypressed theme by Themocracy