The Family Care Centre for HIV/AIDs in Hayatabad is providing treatment to pregnant women with HIV to ensure their babies are not born with the virus.
Medical experts consider this move a positive step to decreasing the number of AIDs patients in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P). HIV is considered to be a condition with high genetic variability. In K-P and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata), husbands transmit the condition to their wives who give birth to children with the same condition and a propensity to contract AIDs.
The Prevention of Parent-to-Child Transmission (PPTC) objective is the top priority for medical experts working to treat cases of HIV. This is to ensure the next generation remains safe as the number of HIV positive women increases in the province.
“During our counselling session with parents, we advise parents with the condition to start the treatment during pregnancy in order to save their children,” said Dr Idrees Afridi, coordinator for children at the centre. “It is a big achievement for the centre that mothers gave birth to children who are HIV negative.”
Afridi added five mothers are currently being treated at the centre, with one Afghan who came every three months from Afghanistan to collect her medicines. He claimed there was only a two percent chance of their children being HIV positive after birth.
“Around two years ago, we received a nurse from Khyber Teaching Hospital who contracted HIV while injecting a patient,” Afridi said. “She consulted us in time and we started her medication. She has now given birth to two children and both are living a life free of AIDs.
According to data obtained from the centre, 29 successful deliveries have been made so far by mothers hailing from all over K-P and Fata. According to the statistics, the centre conducted four successful deliveries in 2008, five in 2009, nine in 2010, four in 2011, five in 2012 and two in 2013. As mentioned before, five other pregnant women are currently being treated at the centre.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 12th, 2013.