Fresh new life
Dear Topsy Supporters,
I am happy to bring to you this latest report from the field. I would like to tell you about one of the important projects that we run through our free Comprehensive HIV and AIDS Care Clinic. It is the Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) project.
The transmission of HIV from mother to child is a facet of this epidemic that has received a lot of international attention – both because the prevalence of mother to child transmission has been worryingly high in some regions (particularly Southern Africa) and secondly because there are highly effective medicines and treatment protocols available to ensure the HIV negative status of the child.
At the Topsy Foundation Clinic we employ the best practice in prevention of transmission by using an end-to-end process to take the mother and child through all stages from conception, through pregnancy and the birth to feeding. When this protocol is followed, with the assistance of the medical and social work professionals at our Clinic, then success is made possible. Throughout the time that we have had this project in place, we have had great successes, and in each case where the mother complied with the process, the child was born free of HIV.
Before the introduction of treatment and methods to prevent mother to child transmission there was a very high incidence rate of infection from mother to child internationally – up to 40%. Over time, with treatment this has dropped to as low as 2.8%. (South African Medical Journal, Vol 102, 2012.)
The national rate of infant exposure to HIV in South Africa is 32%. However, with the availability of treatment at clinics like Topsy, the national weighted prevalence of HIV infection amongst infants in South Africa is 1.5% - with the 2 highest rates of infection being in 2 provinces: Mpumalanga (3%) and Free State (2.4%). It is precisely because these 2 provinces are deeply affected by the impact of HIV and AIDS that Topsy has chosen to focus our efforts here. (South African Department of Health).
It is our policy to offer treatment and support to all of our patients who may be pregnant and to induct them into our PMTCT programme (which like our other services is free of charge). This is highly important, given that in our provinces only +- 56% of known HIV positive mothers are able to access this treatment.
We continue to offer this treatment and guidance to HIV positive mothers on preventing transmission to their child, throughout the pregnancy and thereafter.
We deeply value your support in helping us to do this.
Thank you for all that you have given that has made this possible.