I mentioned in my previous post I’d do some research regarding mother-to-child-transmission (MTCT) of HIV; here’s what I discovered:
Just because a mom is HIV-positive doesn’t guarantee the virus will be transmitted to the child. Transmission depends on several factors; the main one is the severity of the mother’s infection during her pregnancy. On average, only 15-20% of HIV-infected mothers pass the virus to their baby before or during birth. Another 1/3 will pass the virus to their child if they elect to breast-feed. Interestingly, only 2% of HIV-positive mothers transmit the virus during labor if a C-section is preformed, instead of vaginal delivery. A single dose of nevirapine can be given to an HIV-positive mother during labor and to the baby post-delivery, reducing MTCT by about 41%.
This treatment seems to be widely available and inexpensive, but the problem lies with HIV detection. Testing is expensive and not always readily available. Not to mention lack of education…sometimes moms simply don’t know they should be tested, or are unaware that the virus is transmitted by breast-feeding. Sadly enough, even with disease education and drug/testing availability, mothers are still helpless to protect their children because many areas are so impoverished that breast-feeding is their only option.
What a shame.
Reminds me of a cartoon I read:
Two turtles were discussing meeting God. One said, “I can’t wait to meet God. I’m going to ask him why didn’t He do something about all the suffering on earth.” The other turtle hesitated and responded, “I’m afraid he’s going to ask me the same thing.”