China Ministry of Health Issues Guidelines on Preventing Mother-to-Child HIV Transmission
November 10, 2004
China's Ministry of Health has issued guidelines on preventing mother-to-child HIV transmission to combat a growing number of such cases, China Daily reports. HIV-positive women can transmit the virus to an infant during pregnancy or birth or through breastfeeding (Feng, China Daily, 11/9). The ministry will offer examinations at no cost to HIV-positive pregnant women, and the government also urged medical institutions to provide antiretroviral therapy at no cost to HIV-positive pregnant women and their infants, PTI News reports (PTI News, 11/9). Without antiretroviral drugs such as nevirapine -- which is taken by women during labor and administered to infants following birth -- about 25% of infants born to HIV-positive women contract the disease from their mothers. However, the risk of vertical HIV transmission can be reduced to about 8% if the drug is administered to both the woman and the infant. Caesarean-section deliveries and bottle feeding -- as opposed to breastfeeding -- also help to reduce the risk of vertical HIV transmission (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 7/14). The Chinese government in May announced a new nationwide effort to combat HIV/AIDS, including the provision of free antiretroviral treatment to reduce the risk of vertical HIV transmission (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 5/27). The World Health Organization last month called on nations to make the prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission a "top priority," and urged nations to improve the availability of antiretroviral drugs to all HIV-positive women who require treatment (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 10/22).
This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.