VISUALATION OF HIV VIRUS

Mother-to-child HIV Transmission in Guinea

What is Mother-to-child HIV transmission? 

 Mother- to- child HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) transmission is when HIV is passed from woman to child, during pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding.  According to a report by the World Health Organisation in April 2022, 9% of HIV infections are due to vertical transmission.

 In Guinea, around 1.5% of pregnant women are HIV-positive. However, mother-to-child HIV transmission can be reduced with specific strategies. These include:

  1. Taking antiretroviral drugs during the pregnancy to reduce the risk that the foetus is infected by the mother’s blood via the placenta
  2. Opting for caesarean section instead of normal vaginal delivery, which reduces the risk that the child being infected by the mother’s blood during childbirth
  3. Avoiding breastfeeding, opting instead for bottle feeding with formula milk
  4. Giving antiretroviral drugs to the newborn baby in their first four weeks of life

This combined approach reduces the risk of the newborn baby contracting HIV to less than 1% or even less than 0.1% if the mother has an undetectable viral load

What programmes are dedicated to preventing mother-to-child HIV transmission?

 The HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis Prevention Programme in Guinea is funded by the Global Fund and Unit aid. It works to provide women and children with the essential antiretroviral free of charge. The World Health Organisation reports that between January and December 2021, 93% of children tested negative for HIV, a 2% increase from the 91% figure of 2020.

The program for pregnant women involves two different plans. R3M allows mothers and their children to be treated every three months, while with R6M treatment is every six months.

 These treatment plans aim to provide high-quality HIV care while also instituting a regular plan for therapy that is both free for patients and less demanding, both in terms of cost and human resources, to healthcare providers.

 After the improvements seen in Guinea with increased HIV-negative rates in children, this kind of treatment will continue to help HIV-positive mothers to improve their health as well as the health of their children.

 Healthcare programs to reduce mother-to-child HIV transmission have proven successful and cost-effective. Globally, 85% of pregnant women with HIV received the drugs necessary to prevent vertical transmission in 2020. Access has improved over the years, as 73% of people living with HIV have had access to this treatment by the end of 2020, an increase from 25% in 2010. Globally, this type of treatment is beginning to positively impact more and more people living with AIDS, especially HIV-positive women and their children.

Hajrah Hafeez

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