Zimbabwean Government To Begin New Treatment Policy To Prevent Mother-to-Child HIV Transmission, Health Ministry Official Says
The Zimbabwean government plans to begin a new antiretroviral drug treatment policy for its mother-to-child prevention program, Owen Mugurungi, head of the HIV/AIDS and TB unit at the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare, said last week, The Herald/AllAfrica.com reports.
HIV-positive pregnant women in the country currently take a single dose of nevirapine during birth to prevent transmitting the virus to their infants. The new treatment, which is backed by the World Health Organization, will involve giving women a combination of nevirapine and zidovudine before and during birth.
According to the health ministry, the standard, single-dose nevirapine treatment is 50% effective in reducing mother-to-child HIV transmission. The new treatment, which was studied in Zambia, was found to be twice as effective as the standard treatment, the ministry said.
Mugurungi said the only obstacle to implementing the new treatment is cost, as it is more expensive than the single-dose treatment, The Herald/AllAfrica.com reports (The Herald/AllAfrica.com, 2/4).