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Health News of Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Source: GNA

Mother-to-child HIV infection down

Mother-to-child transmission of HIV in Ghana has reduced drastically, according to Reverend John Azumah, a Ghana AIDS Commission HIV Ambassador.

He told the Ghana News Agency in an interview on Monday that about 90 percent of children born to HIV positive mothers have tested negative.

Rev. Azumah said the Ghana AIDS Commission and its ambassadors through their "Heart to Heart Campaign" and other programmes, are working hard to ensure that by 2015, no new mother to child infection will be recorded.

He indicated that it is unfortunate that about 29,579 children according to statistics from the Ghana Aids Commission, are living with HIV in the country as at December 2013.

Rev Azumah, who is also the President of the Religious Leaders Living and Affected by HIV/AIDS (INERA+GH), added that late attendance to ante-natal clinic could be the cause of some mothers infecting their babies with the virus.

He, therefore, advised opinion leaders, relatives, and all men to encourage women to start attending ante-natal as soon as they conceive, for the sake of their children.

He appealed to men to accompany their wives to antenatal clinics, and encourage them to under-go the compulsory HIV test for pregnant women.

Rev Azumah noted that the mother-to-child prevention is very effective, as according to him, even though he and his wife are HIV positive, all their four children are HIV negative.

The HIV ambassador explained that in the past, the HIV test kits were made available in large quantities, but currently, test kits are only made available for free testing by pregnant women.

He lamented about the irregular supply of the anti-retroviral drugs which has compelled well-to-do patients to travel to other places to purchase their monthly drugs, while the poor only hope for supplies.

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