The 2017 Annual Public Health Seminar was very informative. Almost every quarter, the BU School of Public Health handle the Global Health Research Seminar Series. It is a one hour event that caters to many public health topic like HIV-AIDS, tuberculosis, infant health, early childhood development, ART retention, and more. I know the topics may seem very general, but the seminars are specific and one of a kind. For example, I attended the seminar wherein women with HIV in South Africa has revealed their stories and more to that, they have given birth while with their disease.
You would think, what about the babies? If the mother was HIV-positive before they gave birth, is it automatic that the children are infected too? The sad fact is that mothers with HIV pass it on to their babies. According to Medline, almost all children who has HIV get the disease from the HIV-positive mother. They can pass it on to their babies during pregnancy, and as they give birth. When an HIV-positive mother breastfeeds, the virus is also transmitted.
Why is that? HIV can infect people through blood transfusion, semen and vaginal fluids, and breast milk. It is just so unfortunate that a baby, who is very innocent, will get sick because of their also sick mother. But there are ways to prevent the transmission from mother to child, if only the mother will do everything that is advised.
- If a mother has HIV and she learns that she is pregnant, she must consult with her doctor. She will be given HIV medicines like antiretroviral therapy to prevent the transmission.
- The doctor will know what type of birth option is better to lessen the risk of HIV transmission from mother to baby, and so, consult as early as possible.
- A mother who is HIV-positive must not nurse her baby.
These are three important recommendations from the seminar I went to. Also, they were talking about talk therapy since having HIV can create problems like depression and anxiety. For me, I believe that talk therapy can enhance the mother’s acceptance of the situation and deal with the issue as properly as possible.