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.

To list a few examples1:

  • An HIV positive father (if he can be called that) raped his own daughter. Reason: he wanted her to die with him.
  • There is a scarily common misconception that if an HIV positive man has sex with a virgin he will be cured of the disease. And that is what exactly why two fathers raped their own daughters.
  • An HIV positive stepfather raped and impregnated his daughter. When asked why, he simply stated that it would be better that he gave her the disease than “the dogs out there.”
  • An HIV positive father quoted “I cannot plant a cabbage and let another reap it”, meaning that since he had brought his daughter to life, she belonged to him. And that was why he raped her.

As long as stories like these keep being heard, it will be of no use to have success with the prevention of transmission of the disease. Implementing PMTCT, only to have the children felled down later in their lives, is a heartbreaking delay of the obvious.

We need to show mercy to our children, to our future and in the name of humanity.


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