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Early detection of HIV reduces the risk of transmission to the baby by up to 50%

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Jakarta, IO – Indonesia had focused only on key population groups in handling HIV, because transmission trends were concentrated in these groups for a long time. Efforts to reduce HIV transmission from pregnant mothers to their babies only started in 2006. However, up until now women and children are still not completely safe from the threat of HIV transmission. Data from the 2022 Ministry of Health, of 5 million pregnant mothers, only 58% received HIV detection with 0.3% or 7,100 being HIV positive. Of that number, only 24%, or 1,700 received antiretroviral (ARV) treatment. 

“Women bear the burden of HIV/AIDS, which is the main cause of death for women of reproductive age based on global estimates released by United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). Pregnant mothers infected with HIV have a greater risk of suffering pregnancy complications due to infection, accompanying infections including tuberculosis, pneumonia, and meningitis due to a weak immune system,” said Hartini, Head of the Prevention of Mothers to Child Transmission of HIV Program (PPIA) from The Association of Positive Women Indonesia (IPPI), at “the Elimination of Mother to Child Transmission (EMTCT) Symposium” held in Jakarta, Monday (27/11/2023). 

Retarget Elimination 

Pregnant mothers with HIV who do not take ARVs can transmit it to their babies vertically during pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding. Therefore, detecting HIV in pregnant mothers is very important, so that HIV cases in pregnant mothers can be detected early on. Pregnant mothers with HIV who receive ARV therapy early on can reduce the risk of transmission to their unborn babies to less than 2%, while those who do not undergo therapy can have a 20-50% risk of infecting their babies. 

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Chair of the Ministry of Health’s Maternal Neonatal Health Work Team, dr. Laila Mahmudah, MPH, said that the government has established a road map to stop mother-to-child transmission of HIV. Previously, the elimination of mother-to-child transmission of three infectious diseases, namely HIV, syphilis, and hepatitis B, was targeted to be achieved by 2022. However, this target could not be met, so it was reset so that it could be achieved by 2030. 

“Efforts to increase the coverage and quality of screening for HIV, syphilis, and hepatitis B in pregnant mothers are expected to accelerate elimination achievements. We strive to ensure collaboration and cooperation across programs and sectors to run better and also increase public participation. The hope is that by 2030, the elimination target can be achieved,” she explained. (est)

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