Prevention Of Mother To Child Transmission

The relationship between mother and child is mostly complex especially during the postnatal stage. Beyond physical or biological closeness, it has been confirmed that there is a psychological aspect to this connection that makes separating a mother from her child just because she has a virus exceedingly difficult. We cannot as result neglect or leave the child to face the risk or high possibility of contracting HIV whether pre-birth, at birth or post-birth.

What then do we do to help the situation?

The chances of the virus moving from mother to child are up to 15% to 45%, particularly in African countries where Mother To Child Transmission (MTCT) is a continual threat. One might assume that the best way to go about this is to avoid blood contact between both parties, but how can we achieve this when transmission could easily occur vertically? Compared to other means of contracting the virus, the mother to child transmission (MTCT) can occur during pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding. This kind of transmission is known as Vertical transmission.

One of the most important steps to prevention is knowing your status before and during pregnancy. Pregnant or intending mothers need to know their status and seek medical attention immediately if found positive. For instance, early detection, disclosure of status when needed, seeking medical attention while pregnant or planning to conceive play a major role in the prevention of mother-child transmission.

Also, there are several programmes that seek the prevention of MTCT, they provide testing at birth and lactating period and also other treatment to help them have healthy and virus free child(ren). Women living with HIV are encouraged to be part of these programmes not only to protect their children but also as a means of contributing their quota in curbing the spread of the virus.

Although preventing a child from contracting the virus is not as difficult as it may sound but adherence is often a challenge. A few women put their child(ren) at the risk of this virus (sometimes unintentionally) for diverse reasons like stigma and other societal problems as adherence sometimes gives away their HIV status. For instance, an HIV positive mother might neglect the education received from health experts and naturally breastfeed her baby in a bid to conceal her HIV status.

‘The most common barriers and challenges of PMTCT were non-disclosure of HIV status, late initiation of ARVs treatment/adherence, STIs screening, long clinics waiting time, non-involvement of men in PMTCT, infant feeding methods and sensitization of community members on PMTCT programmes.’

To get rid of this virus, we must take note of certain inequalities and the stigma that comes with it as most HIV related deaths lie upon fault lines of inequality. Prevention of Mother-Child transmission will continue to be a thing on the paper if we do not take out the stigma that comes with it. Also, countries and communities should abolish cultural practices that inhibit the drive to end HIV in the world so we can all achieve an end to the HIV epidemic.

BSmartlytics has developed a unique patient app, BSmart Chart App (available on iOS apple store and android play store) that effectively help people living with HIV in disease management. The app monitors your parameters in day-to-day life, connects you with your healthcare professional and in turn assist you in making better-informed decisions such as preventing your child from contracting the disease.

Also, BSmartlytics has developed a novel clinical decision making tool, SmartHIV Clinician, which helps the Clinician to tailor HIV treatment strategies to the pregnancy status of mothers.

At Bohemian Smartlytics, we help people living with HIV have a better life with our entirely new approach to health. We develop research-based solutions by deploying, utilizing and managing unconventional, innovative and AI-powered technologies.