A study by University College London examined 5151 HIV positive pregnancies between 2000 and 2006. Women who got proper treatment during pregnancy delivered only 1.2% HIV positive infants. This is a significant improvement, compared to 1990s when mother to child HIV transmission rates were 20%.
The study found that the key to success is the combination of antiretroviral therapy (ART) and antenatal testing for HIV.
Antenatal testing diagnoses HIV in very early stages before the disease seriously affects health. In 2000 HIV early diagnosis rates were 70%, compared to 95% in 2005. The testing method is very successful in early detection, giving more survival chances to patients.
Antiretroviral therapy is very successful when given during at least the last 14 days of pregnancy. ART cuts the risk of mother to child HIV transmission to 0.8%. It is known that C-section delivery cuts the risk for HIV infant delivery, but the study suggests that a proper treatment can allow natural delivery of healthy children.
The study is very promising, but it also mentions that the combined treatment is very expensive even for those living in developed countries. Only 10% of women in these countries can afford such treatment. This is why about 1800 HIV infected infants are born each day.
The study urges the need that the treatment must be affordable for all women. This combined treatment can significantly reduce mother to child HIV transmission rates and ensure delivery of healthy infants. This means that the treatment is extremely important to have a healthy population. -- HULIQ