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HIV-positive mothers need more information about treatment

A paper exploring HIV-positive women’s accounts of their use and non-use of treatments for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission has just been released in Australia.

Australia’s rate of HIV is low. In 2010, women made up 8.9 per cent of the population of people living with HIV and AIDS, a total of 2074 women. Because of the country’s large size and moderate population, these women are widely dispersed, often isolated.

The study looks at how women living with HIV experience pregnancy and their use of antiretroviral therapy when administering it to themselves and their children, the researchers said.

Researchers conducted in-depth interviews with 34 HIV-positive women in 2001 who were diagnosed during their childbearing years. The paper reports on 16 women who gave birth to 23 children after becoming aware of their HIV status.

In order to provide effective and appropriate health care for women living with HIV/AIDS and their babies, health-care professionals need to consider the mother’s perspective because women taking ARV asserted a lack of scientific explanation for many of their experiences with the treatment.

Almost all the women in the study accepted that taking treatment during pregnancy and giving treatment to their newborn babies was one of the final steps in the pursuit of a healthy HIV-negative baby. However, the few who rejected treatments for themselves or their babies cited a suspicion towards the suitability of AIDS care for infants.

Read more at La Trobe University

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