HIV transmission from parents major cause of AIDS among kids


Over 1,500 children are infected by HIV daily through parent-to-child-transmission (PTCT). A seminar titled “HIV/AIDS in children” was organized by Dow University of Health Sciences (DUHS) in collaboration with Civil Hospital Karachi Department of Paediatric, and the Sindh AIDS Control Programme to commemorate the World AIDS Day 2012. Physicians treating HIV-AIDS patients and child specialists, said that over 90 per cent of all HIV positive children inherited the virus from their mothers. They were of the opinion that the most effective way to protect children against the HIV was to prevent its transmission to them from their affected parents-to-be and to prevent unplanned pregnancies in the HIV-infected women. The speakers of the occasion included Dr Ashraf Memon, a senior specialist physician who attends HIV-AIDS patients and is associated with Sindh AIDS Control Programme, Civil Hospital Head of Pediatrics Department Prof. Ayesha Mehnaz, and senior child specialists Dr. Noor un Nisa Masqati, Dr Nida Noor and Dr Shagufta Baloch.
Dr. Ashraf Memon said that in 2011, there were 10600 registered HIV patients in Sindh and said that these included men and women of all ages. He told that the annual incidence of HIV in Pakistan was 0.1 percent. He said that the pregnant women already infected with HIV must be provided with antiretroviral therapy (ART). The ART is administered to the patients only if it is required, he added. He said that the ART was not only important for the prevention of virus being transmitted to the child but also an important mode of treatment for the infected patients. Dr. Ashraf Memon also emphasized the importance of safe delivery practices and safe infant- feeding options as they could significantly curtail risk of mother-to-child HIV transmission. Prof. Ayesha Mehnaz said that “twenty two children are presently under treatment at HIV-AIDS Treatment Centre of Civil Hospital.” She said that treatment for children, with the virus, was available at dedicated institutes as well as in certain government hospitals. Prof. Ayesha Mehnaz also highlighted importance of blood screening for HIV as well as other blood borne infections during pregnancy followed by effective counseling and timely treatment to prevent transmission of the diseases.
Karachi Civil Hospital Paediatric Unit Dr Noor-Un- Nisa Masqati in her presentation titled “Management and Treatment of HIV/AIDS”, said that children acquire HIV during pregnancy, labour, birth and even after birth. She added that management of HIV/AIDS in pediatric group includes antiretroviral therapy (ART), treatment of acute bacterial infections followed by prophylaxis and treatment of opportunistic infections.