05.07.2022 Health

More babies born by HIV-positive mothers are negative — Dr. Ayisi Addo

By Bertmon Melina ll Contributor
More babies born by HIV-positive mothers are negative — Dr. Ayisi Addo
05.07.2022 LISTEN

“I am happy to announce that because of the service being rendered, more babies who are born by HIV-positive mothers are negative,” Dr. Stephen Ayisi-Addo, Programme Manager, National AIDS/STI Control Programme has revealed.

However, immense support is needed from the spouses and family members of women who are HIV positive with babies in order for them to be able to thrive and overcome stigmatization from society, Dr Ayisi-Addo stated.

In view of the development and progressive achievement, Dr. Ayisi-Addo is, therefore, appealing to Ghanaians to avoid stigmatization and discrimination against people living with HIV.

“We all need to encourage them to take their medications so that very soon Ghana would be a nation free of the HIV virus,” Dr Ayisi-Addo stated during the 14th Edition of the Stakeholders Engagement And Worker's Appreciation Day Seminar of the Tema Regional Office of the Ghana News Agency as monitored by the Communication for Development and Advocacy Consult (CDA Consult) in Tema.

The GNA Tema Stakeholder Engagement is a platform rolled out for state and non-state actors to address national issues and serves as a motivational mechanism to recognize the editorial contribution of reporters toward national development in general and the growth and promotion of the Tema GNA as the industrial news hub.

Providing current data on children’s HIV status, Dr. Ayisi-Addo said that out of the estimated 350,000 people living with HIV in Ghana, 7 percent were children with an estimated 3,700 new infections annually and 3,000 deaths with infected children below the ages of 15 years yearly.

He stressed the need to pay attention to HIV in children as it was very essential considering them being the future of the country.

Dr. Ayisi-Addo explained it takes an adult infected with HIV 15 years maximum to develop Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) which was the end set disease, but in children, it takes five years maximum to develop because of the reduced immunity as compared to adults.

“Because the children do not have more immunity to the level of the adults own, they die faster,” he added.

Dr. Ayisi-Addo mentioned that children get the virus from their mothers because most children below the ages of 15 years do not have sex for them to get infected as that was one of the ways through which the virus could be transmitted.

“If you take all the methods that a child could get HIV, mother-to-child transmission takes 15 percent,” he said.

He noted that a baby could get infected with HIV whiles in the mother’s womb, during labour, delivery, and during breastfeeding, adding that HIV was not genetically transmitted.

He said they have introduced a strategy whereby any mother who got pregnant and comes to the hospital was tested for HIV and “if found positive is placed on medication to prevent transmission of the virus to the unborn baby”.

He advised pregnant women to take their antenatal and postnatal seriously and also make it a point to take the medications given to them accordingly in order to save the unborn child from contracting the virus.

Dr. Ayisi-Addo said they have provided mental mothers who are HIV positive and are stable on treatment and can attest to the benefits of the medication to encourage the new mothers to come to the clinic and guide them in what to do.

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