BBC News Examines Abandoned Infants Born to HIV-Positive Women in Russia
February 23, 2006
BBC News on Tuesday examined how infants born to HIV-positive women in Russia are being abandoned. About 20 infants daily are born to HIV-positive women in the country, which has one of the fastest-growing HIV/AIDS epidemics in the world, and about two of every 20 of these is abandoned by their mothers to be cared for by the state, according to BBC News. Many of the abandoned infants end up in state-run infectious diseases hospitals for at least 18 months, which is the length of time needed for doctors in the country officially to determine a child's HIV status. Although antiretroviral drugs that can prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV are available, many women do not know about the treatment, BBC News reports. HIV-positive infants who have been abandoned often stay in hospitals because orphanages frequently refuse to accept them. Those who do go to orphanages often are isolated from the other children because of stigma, according to Yelena Vedmed, the deputy head of a hospital in the city of Tver. Vedmed has called for a large-scale public relations campaign to remove the stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS in Russia (Simpson, BBC News, 2/21).
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.