By Lance Mpofu
Claim: Almost 5000 babies in Zimbabwe were born with HIV due to mother-to-child transmissions last year
Source: Ministry of Health and Child Care
According to the health ministry, Zimbabwe recorded 4,750 HIV perinatal transmissions last year.
These infections have been attributed to the mothers’ reluctance to receive antiretroviral therapy (ART) during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Important facts to know about HIV perinatal transmissions
Mother-to-child HIV transmission is when HIV is passed from a woman with HIV to her child during pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding.
Children born with HIV may fail to reach their second birthday if they don’t receive adequate treatment.
How to prevent HIV prenatal transmissions
- Women should get tested for HIV before they become pregnant or as early as possible during each pregnancy.
- Pregnant women with HIV should take HIV medicines throughout pregnancy and breastfeeding to prevent perinatal transmission of HIV.
- A caesarean section delivery helps reduce HIV transmission to babies
- After birth, babies born to women with HIV should receive HIV medicines to reduce the risk of perinatal transmission of HIV.
- Families of women who test HIV positive during pregnancy should give support and make sure the woman receives ART to safeguard the health of the unborn baby.
- Women living HIV should continue to receive their medicines even after their health improves.