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WHO Urges Nations to Make Prevention of Mother-to-Child HIV Transmission "Top Priority"

October 22, 2004

The World Health Organization in a statement issued in Lagos, Nigeria, on Wednesday urged nations to make the prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission a "top priority," Xinhuanet reports. HIV-positive women can use antiretroviral drugs during pregnancy to improve their health and reduce the risk of vertical transmission, according to the report, which also says that efforts should be made to improve the provision of antiretroviral drugs to all HIV-positive women who require treatment. The report -- which is the outcome of a meeting on antiretroviral drugs and vertical transmission prevention in resource-limited countries -- said that interventions should focus on primary HIV prevention among women and their partners and the prevention of vertical HIV transmission. Although the safety and effectiveness of triple-combination antiretroviral regimens have not been thoroughly assessed in resource-poor areas, "[i]nformation on safety of various ARV regimens shows that short-course regimens are, in general, well-tolerated, with few mild and transient side effects for the woman and her infant," the report says, according to Xinhuanet (Xinhuanet, 10/20).

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