South African Pregnant Women Have ‘Moral Responsibility’ To Access Care To Prevent Vertical HIV Transmission, Opinion Piece Says
Pregnant women in South Africa have a "moral responsibility" to access voluntary HIV testing and counseling and to obtain appropriate treatment if they test HIV-positive in order to reduce the risk of transmitting HIV to their infants, Nicola Spurr, a research fellow with the HIV/AIDS and Media Project of the Perinatal HIV Research Unit and the journalism program at the University of the Witwatersrand, writes in an opinion piece in South Africa's Mail & Guardian. The availability of antiretroviral drugs, including nevirapine -- which can reduce the risk of vertical HIV transmission by half with a single dose -- as well as the country's "extensive" voluntary HIV counseling and testing opportunities, provide women in South Africa with "choices and information about safe pregnancies" and "more choices around having children," Spurr says. The risk of mother-to-child HIV transmission can be reduced to about 2% with the proper care and treatment, she says, concluding that the responsibility of preventing HIV transmission to infants "is then placed not on those who are HIV-positive, but on those who have not accessed available prevention measures" (Spurr, Mail & Guardian, 4/6).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.