“Today, every baby can be born HIV free!”
Times are changing people! A few years ago, being diagnosed with HIV was a ‘death sentence’, today HIV infection is considered to be more of a chronic illness that can be treated with anti-retrovirals (ARV). HIV positive people receiving ARV treatment can look towards their futures now. Not only are ARV’s life-saving drugs for such individuals, but these drugs also decrease the risk of them transmitting the virus to those close to them by a reported 96% (sexual relationship or otherwise). Finally, we are starting to see some light! But adherence to ARV treatment is a tricky business. At first people thought; ‘oh wonderful take this drug and I’ll be fine’, recent research suggests that ARV requires a life-long demanding and expensive regiment that few people are actually able to carry through with. So yes, ARV’s are great, but they come with their own set of problems. It is therefore still important to understand the need to eradicate HIV from our communities.
Having said this, infection rates in South Africa are still very high! While many of us South Africans are getting tested and becoming informed about our status and taking care of our health, there are many of us who continue through ignorance or perhaps fear, or lack of resources, to spread this virus. Speaking for myself as an adult living in South Africa, I feel I have the power to protect myself from the devastation of HIV/AIDS. From this state of reason, I expect other South African adults to take control of their own health too. I cannot spend my time worrying about those that are able to worry and protect themselves, but what about those that do not have the power to protect themselves against infection… Like babies?
According to Avert.org, Mother-to-child transmission accounts for 90% of children infected with HIV in South Africa! Mother-to-child transmission includes instances whereby a child becomes infected during; pregnancy, delivery, or breastfeeding. In this sense, mothers do not only have a responsibility to protect themselves from HIV infection, but to their children as well. Even-though a mother may be HIV positive, she is still able to give birth to HIV negative children. In fact, today, every baby can be born HIV free!
So how do we ensure this? How do we go from 90% of children becoming infected from their mothers, to 0%? Click on the link below and take a look at what these HIV positive mothers think…