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HIV transmission from mother to child nearly eliminated

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Published on July 24, 2015 with No Comments

Canada has virtually eliminated the incidence of mothers passing HIV to their infants at birth, primarily because of high rates of pre-natal testing and ready access to drug treatment that subdues the infection, researchers have said.

In 2014, there was only one case of mother-to-child HIV transmission in Canada, continuing a decade-long downward trend, said Dr. Jason Brophy, chair of the Canadian Pediatric and Perinatal AIDS Research Group (CPARG), which has been tracking cases since 1990.

“The World Health Organization definition of elimination is less than two per cent transmission, and that’s where we are right now,” Brophy, an infectious disease specialist at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa is reported to have said. The finding was among data from three studies by CPARG’s perinatal HIV surveillance program presented at the 8th International AIDS Society conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention in Vancouver.

Each year, an average of about 200 babies are born in Canada to women diagnosed with HIV, said Brophy, noting that in the 1990s, before the advent of antiretroviral drugs, 84 per cent of HIV-positive moms-to-be were diagnosed after they got pregnant.

 

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