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Vertical Transmission Second Leading Cause of HIV Transmission in Uganda, Researchers Say

June 15, 2006

Mother-to-child transmission is the second most common method of HIV transmission in Uganda after sexual intercourse, researchers said last week at the launch of a vertical transmission prevention program in the country's Jinja district, Uganda's New Vision reports. Enid Mbabazi of the Makere University Institute of Public Health said at least 20,000 HIV-positive infants are born in the country annually, adding that research indicates an HIV-positive pregnant woman's risk of transmitting the virus to her infant increases if she is living with malaria or syphilis. "That is why pregnant mothers with HIV should test for malaria and syphilis and get treatment to reduce the risk of infection of the child," she said (Kakamwa, New Vision, 6/12). In related news, outgoing Ugandan Health Minister Jim Muhwezi on Monday said a low number of women are accessing maternity services provided in the country. He also said that more than 78,000 HIV-positive people in Uganda are receiving antiretroviral drugs, exceeding the World Health Organization target of 60,000 (Mutumba, Monitor, 6/13).

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