South Africa reports new success in saving newborns from HIV

July 19, 2012

About 117,000 babies were saved from HIV infection last year under South Africa's scheme to prevent mothers from passing on the disease during childbirth, health official said Thursday.

Among mothers with HIV, only 2.7 percent passed the virus to their babies in 2011, down from 3.5 percent in 2010, the Medical Research Council said. The rate was eight percent in 2008.

Aaron Motsoaledi told a news conference that the reduction proved the success of the government's programme which gives pregnant women drugs that reduce the chance of their babies catching the virus.

"These results, if sustained, will make a major contribution to our efforts to decrease" deaths of infants and young children, Motsoaledi said.

He added that the anti-retroviral drugs also make it safe for HIV-positive mothers to breast feed their babies.

The medicines reduce the in a mother's body, which in turn reduces the infant's risk of contracting HIV through the umbilical chord or by exposure to the mother's bodily fluids during childbirth or breast feeding.

The newborn also gets a few drops of ARV syrup as an extra boost to fight infection.

South Africa has the world's largest HIV caseload, with six million people currently living with the virus. After years of refusing to roll out drugs, the country now runs the world's largest treatment programme, serving 1.3 million people.

Explore further: AIDS treatment in S.Africa send baby infections plunging

Related Stories

South Africa unveils plan to halve HIV infections

December 1, 2011

President Jacob Zuma on Thursday unveiled a plan to halve the number of HIV infections over the next five years, cementing South Africa's turnaround from years of deadly denialism.

Recommended for you

S.Africa launches major new trial of AIDS vaccine

November 29, 2016

South Africa on Wednesday launched a major clinical trial of an experimental vaccine against the AIDS virus, which scientists hope could be the "final nail in the coffin" for the disease.

HIV survives in our chromosomal DNA

November 17, 2016

It has been said that HIV cannot be cured since the virus propagates in places beyond the reach of antiviral agents. New research from Karolinska Institutet suggests, however, that this view is incorrect.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.