Are any of you involved in the voluntary HIV testing of pregnant women followed by transmission prevention?
At the moment, every day in the developing world, around 1,600 babies are infected with the HIV virus during birth. So of course we all welcome the advances being made in helping HIV+ pregnant women to prevent transmission to their babies. UNICEF and WHO see the availability of medication as a chance to ensure an ‘AIDS-free generation’. But how? And at what price? Countries are passing laws that oblige pregnant women to be tested for HIV and to inform their husbands if they are positive. In Sierra Leone it is now a criminal offence to pass the HIV virus to a baby, an offence that can lead to fines and/or imprisonment. But we all know that in many cultures a woman found to be HIV positive risks being rejected from her marriage, her house, even from her community. And the very health staff who give the test may not have prepared her for bad news, may not have explained about the possibilities around treatment, prevention of transmission and life-long medication. We should not be safe-guarding children at the expense of the Human Rights of their mothers. Are any of you tackling the problem in ways you consider acceptable?
Read more at openDemocracy.net – HIV/AIDS: a War on Women