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International News

Stigmatization Slows Kenya's Efforts to Avert Mother-to-Child HIV Transmission

November 21, 2012

Pregnant women in Kenya are giving birth to HIV-infected babies either because they do not know their HIV status or they are avoiding the hospitals. Stigma and discrimination are driving their behaviors. At a recent forum in Nairobi, on mother-to-child HIV transmission, Dr. William Maina, head of Kenya's National AIDS/STD Control Program (Nascop), said that in spite of the country's great improvements in the fight against HIV, stigmatization is still a challenge. People with the disease are frowned upon, and, as a result, the fear keeps women away from the hospital.

An estimated 13,000 women give birth to HIV positive babies annually, a decrease from approximately 23,000 in 2007. The reduction is due to the government's efforts to strengthen prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) services offered in the country. PMTCT services are available at approximately 5,000 private and public health facilities and are free at public hospitals. Also, pregnant women who go to the hospital for delivery or attend a prenatal clinic are given the

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See Also
Quiz: Are You at Risk for HIV?
10 Common Fears About HIV Transmission
More on HIV Prevention in Kenya

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