At GAIA's clinic more women accept HIV testing
I'm writing to you from the European HIV/AIDS Conference where GAIA is presenting our research on Mother to Child Transmission Prevention (MTCTP). Now that we have celebrated 10 years of HIV prevention at the Hope Center Clinic in Sikoro, Mali, we have a decade of data to share with the scientific community and you, our loyal supporters!
GAIA’s “Chez Rosalie” MTCPT program showed a consistently higher HIV test acceptance rates (over 93%) than reported for the rest of Mali (31% in 2011, UNAIDS/UNGASS Report). That means, pregnant mothers trust us and want to learn their status so they can protect their newborn from HIV.
The trend of reduction of HIV in Sikoro accelerated following introduction of MTCTP, as compared to other prenatal clinics in Bamako. Early introduction of MTCTP program may have lowered the HIV prevalence in Sikoro.
The number of women and babies requiring MTCTP has decreased with time. Significant reductions in odds of transmission were seen when ARV treatment was provided during pregnancy or to infants immediately after birth. 100% of babies born to MTCTP-adherent mothers were HIV-seronegative.
The United Nations comprehensive approach to MTCTP lists the following components:
- Primary prevention of HIV among women of child bearing age
- Preventing unintended pregnancy among women living with HIV
- Preventing HIV transmission from a woman living with HIV to her infant
- Providing appropriate treatment, care and support to women living with HIV and their children and families
At GAIA’s Hope Center Clinic in Sikoro, we developed programs over the years that closely align with the UN priorities:
- MTCTP began in 2005
- Peer Education about HIV began in 2006
- Comprehensive HIV care was established in 2008
- Nutritional and Peer Support began in 2008
- Teen Peer Education began in 2012
Our decade of HIV prevention in Sikoro shows that MTCTP interventions are feasible in low-resource settings, and in fact, are most successful when patients have access to local care. Replication of GAIA’s programs at more community-run clinics in West Africa could significantly reduce the prevalence of HIV among children.
While HIV prevalence in Mali is relatively low at 1.4%, there are 68 000 women over the age of 15 estimated to be HIV infected in 2014. The estimated number of AIDS orphans in Mali is 59 000. (UNAIDS 2014)
2016 will be the “Year of MTCTP” in Mali, and we aim to join in the national campaign to expand our programs and increase access to care 5-fold. Currently we test approximately 1,500 pregnant women per year. By expanding to four more clinics, we could test and treat a total of 7,500 women per year.
Please join us to make 2016 the year of ZERO Mother to Child HIV Transmission! We can’t do it without you!
HIV rates have dropped faster at GAIA's clinic
Happy mom and HIV-free babe