Mother to child transmission

HIV/AIDS Dictionary

HIV- Human Immune deficiency Virus
AIDS- Acquired Immune deficiency Syndrome
Antibodies- Cells produced by the body to fight infection.
CD4- Fighter cells/ immune cells
Antiretrovirals- Medication to slow the progress of the HI virus
STI- Sexually Transmitted Infection
Kaposi Sarcoma- Aids related cancer
Lesions- Injury to the living tissue of the body, usually as a result of disease or injury
ADC- Aids dementia complex
Adherence- Taking medication exactly as prescribed
Viral evolution- The change in the make-up of the virus. Influences ART
ART- Antiretroviral therapy
ARV- Antiretrovirals
VCT- Voluntary counseling and testing

Telephone numbers
to remember:

National AIDS Helpline: 0800 012 322
HIV Health Workers Hotline: 0800 212 506
AIDS Consortium: 011-403 0265
AIDS Law Project ALP: 011- 717 8600
National Association of people living with AIDS(NAPWA): 011-872 0975

Treatment Action Campaign (TAC):
Cape Town: 021-364-5489
Johannesburg: 011-403-2293
KZN: 031-304-3673
Eastern Cape: 043-760-0050

Mother to child transmissions of HIV in South Africa were on the decrease for a few years as a result of preventative medication and early check-ups and testing by expectant women.

The overall change in the attitude towards HIV and Aids has been one of cockyness, since ARV's have become readily available in South Africa, the attitude is “So what, if I get infected, I can be treated.” The news that Aids is no longer a death sentence has led to a decrease in care and condom use.

South African contraceptive use is at it's lowest in Gauteng with only 28 percent of couples in coverage using some form of contraception. And on university campus, the clinic visits for HIV testing have dropped and pregnancy is once again the main fear.

Expectant mothers are not showing up for the early stage pregnancy consultations and tests in spite of Johannesburg hospitals having departments dedicated to pre and post natal care, focusing on HIV positive mothers and their newborn babies.

What is PMTCT?

Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission is possible. The transmission of the HI Virus from mother to child takes place during pregnancy, labour, delivery or breastfeeding. As a result of the baby being exposed to the infected bodily fluids of the mother.

South African government and various health organisation across the globe are aiming for an end to mother to child transmission by 2015.


Preventative measures include placing the mother on a regimen of of ARV's for the duration of her pregnancy and to continue with the medication until the newborn is longer breastfeeding. The infant should be formula fed as an alternative and nevriapine should be administered daily. Correct dosage and taking the medication as prescribed is necessary for the treatment to be effective and to prevent the infection from becoming drug resistant.

The most effective means of preventing mother to child transmission is to educate men and women on HIV/Aids and to bring home the fact fact that abstinence is the only real prevention.

The use of freely available condoms is advised to prevent unwanted pregnancy in HIV positive women and to curtail the spread of the disease.

If you feel you are ready to fall pregnant but don't want to go to a clinic to do the HIV test you can order an HIV test kit online and do the HIV test in the privacy of your own home.