A Bangkok hospital said it has cut the rate of mother-to-child HIV transmission using a drug cocktail rather than a single dose of an antiretroviral. Government-run Siriraj Hospital said in a statement Tuesday that it gave 106 pregnant women infected with HIV two antiretroviral drugs after 34 weeks of pregnancy and saw the transmission rate fall to just 2.8 percent. Previously, infected mothers at the hospital were given AZT, which reduced the transmission rate to 11.7 percent. By giving them a cocktail of AZT and 3TC, or Lamivudine, the rate fell by nearly 9 percentage points. The hospital said the treatment can be produced in a single tablet costing only $43 a month. The government said this month it plans to give free HIV drugs to 10,000 patients, expanding a program that now covers 3,000 people. According to official estimates, there are nearly 900,000 HIV-infected people in Thailand, about 1.5 percent of them pregnant women. About 90,000 babies are born with HIV annually in Thailand.
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