More Girls Than Boys Found to Get HIV from Mothers

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The Ministry of Health and the Kenya Medical Research Institute in conjunction with the Clinton Health Access Initiative conducted a nine-year research to evaluate the condition of mother-to-child HIV transmission in Kenya.

According to the report, more girls than boys are getting infected with HIV through the mother.

Dr Malitu Mwau of KEMRI and Dr Siongo, head of National AIDS and STI program said that the phenomenon had been described before and there are theories to back the findings.

Prenatal HIV transmission can happen at any time during pregnancy, delivery and breast-feeding. It is therefore advisable that all women take a HIV test early before or during pregnancy.

Programs in HIV research prevention and treatment have enabled women living with AIDS to give birth without transmitting virus to their babies. For babies living with HIV, starting treatment early is important because the disease can progress more rapidly in children than adults.

However thousands of children are still getting infected because the mothers of the infants are not on treatment and the babies are not taking preventive drugs.

Other reasons include distance to health facilities, transportation costs, and persistent stigma.

The scientists also observed cases where the infants were infected despite being on HIV medication. This suggests that women need more support to take medication and be closely monitored during pregnancy and the breastfeeding period.

More research is called for to give better understanding of the phenomenon.

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