Treatment cuts HIV baby risk

HIV tests stop virus spreading to babies

The majority of babies born to women with HIV do not carry the disease themselves, according to a new study.

With the correct treatment given to mothers, 99% of babies were born without the disease being transferred.

There has been a huge decrease in the number of infant infections which stood at 20% in 1993 and now is as little as 1.2%.

The drop is down to more women taking antenatal tests for HIV and most pregnant women with the virus taking a combination of antiretroviral therapy drugs.

Opting for a caesarean section lowers the risk of infection to the child, but this latest study reveals that in many cases the drugs taken are so effective that a natural birth is possible.

Lead researcher Claire Townsend said: ‘Out findings are greatly encouraging. They demonstrate that, if women are tested for HIV early enough in pregnancy for antiretroviral therapy to be initiated, the risk of infection to their baby is very low indeed.’

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