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HIV: the earlier treatment starts, the better chances to deliver a healthy child

HIV can be transferred from mother to child during pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding. However, pregnant women living with HIV can give birth to perfectly healthy children. According to Erkin Tostokov, physician of the Republican “AIDS” Center, this will require prompt and correct use of antiretroviral medication. He also stated that if no preventive measures are taken or if medication is used incorrectly, 30% of children of HIV-positive mothers will be born with HIV. With proper and timely therapy that was started in the early stages of pregnancy, the probability of infecting the child is 2-3%, while in the remaining 98% of cases it is possible to give birth to healthy children.

According to statistics maintained since 2005, as of November 1st, 2020, the total number of registered pregnant women with HIV (since 2005) was 1615. Annually, around 150 pregnant women are diagnosed with HIV in the country. During the 10 months of 2020, HIV was diagnosed in 152 pregnant women.

Since 2005, 835 out of the 1382 infants of HIV-infected mothers were born healthy and were removed from the registry as HIV-negative. With regard to 335 infants, it has not yet been determined whether they are HIV-positive or not since the final analysis is performed 18 months after birth. Regrettably, 45 infants were born with HIV. The main cause of this was that their mothers did not test for HIV during pregnancy or were not taking antiretroviral medication correctly. In addition, 25 children were stillborn, while 75 infants died before reaching 18 months of age, therefore, it was not possible to determine their HIV status.

Remember, the sooner treatment starts, the more chances there are to give birth to a healthy child.