HIV Prevalence Among Pregnant Women in Swaziland Increases to 42.6% in 2004, Survey Shows
The HIV prevalence rate among pregnant women in Swaziland increased to 42.6% in 2004 from 38.6% in 2002, according to preliminary findings from the country's latest HIV sentinel survey, IRIN News reports. The Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, which conducted the survey in 2004 among women attending prenatal clinics, said in a statement that the results showed "signs of hope as well as indications of huge challenges ahead" (IRIN News, 4/5). Pregnant women are considered a "statistically valid" model to project HIV prevalence for the adult population in the country, according to Reuters. The survey estimates that 56% of Swazis ages 25 to 29 are HIV-positive, Reuters reports (Reuters, 4/5). The survey also estimates that HIV prevalence among 15- to 18-year-olds declined from 32.5% in 2002 to 29.3% in 2004, IRIN News reports. David Okello, World Health Organization Swaziland representative, said the government needs to "move fast" to support programs aimed at preventing vertical HIV transmission, ensuring access to antiretroviral drugs and providing prevention education, even though the decrease in prevalence among young pregnant women is "positive" (IRIN News, 4/5).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.