30 November 2012

Sudan: Unicef - Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission Is Essential for a HIV Free Generation

The commemoration of World Aids Day is marked today by a series of events organized by South Sudan Aids Commission (SSAC) and partners in all ten states of South Sudan.

As the day is celebrated all over the country, South Sudan still has a long way to go in preventing new infections especially in children. Despite the three percent HIV prevalence rate in the country, very few mothers get tested for HIV during their pregnancy and even fewer women access antenatal care hence increasing the chances of infecting their newborns.

Treating HIV-positive pregnant women not only keeps them alive and well, but prevents babies from acquiring HIV during pregnancy, delivery and the breastfeeding period. Treatment can also prevent sexual transmission from an HIV-positive woman to an HIV-negative partner.

"In order to achieve an AIDs free generation, the focus needs to be on prevention of mother to child transmission and this can only be achieved if mothers-to-be know their status and start early treatment," said UNICEF's Officer in-charge, Elizabeth Quaye.

Globally, there has been a 24 per cent reduction in the number of new HIV infections in children from-430,000 in 2009 to 330,000 in 2011. And, as of December 2011, over 100,000 more children were receiving antiretroviral treatment compared to 2010.

This however represents less than one-third of children and pregnant women who are receiving the treatment they need as opposed to the global average of 54 per cent for adults overall. The case is not different in South Sudan as a large percentage of pregnant women who test positive do not seek treatment for themselves or their children.

All hope is not lost for South Sudan as there has been a slight improvement in the number of children and pregnant women receiving treatment, however more awareness is required for mothers to know their status so as to seek early treatment and to protect their unborn babies.

An HIV free generation can only be achieved through protecting the youngest and most vulnerable through early detection and treatment.

For more information, please contact:

Mercy Kolok, Communication Officer, UNICEF South Sudan

Mobile: + 211 (0) 955639658 Email: mkolok@unicef.org

Ads by Google

Copyright © 2012 Sudan Tribune. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.