Many HIV-Positive Pregnant Indian Women Choose Abortion to Avoid Vertical Transmission
Due to an "ineffective ... social support system," many HIV-positive young women in India are deciding to terminate their pregnancies rather than take the risk of transmitting the virus to their offspring and "making [the children] ... suffer," the Times of India reports. Dr. Surjeet Singh, operator of an HIV clinic in Chandigarh, said, "The rate of mother-to-child transmission is as high as 43%. [Transmission] may take place during pregnancy, during the process of childbirth or post-delivery through breastfeeding. The use of anti-HIV drugs, a costly therapy, just prior to and during delivery and continuing the same for the newborn dramatically reduces the chances of transmission. But the risk of the disease being passed on is there and many young couples are opting not to take it." One HIV-positive Indian woman who opted for an abortion said, "When nobody wants to know you, meet you, talk to you and is mortally scared of sharing space with you -- one knows what social ostracism is. The baby will always be an unwanted one by the society. ... I think it is a crime to give birth in such a miserable existence" (Yadav, Times of India, 5/13).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.