HIV Infants’ Survival Rate Now Above 90%; Says Expert

HIV Infants’
HIV Infants’

The survival and life expectancy rate of infants who have tested positive to the HIV/AIDS virus has increased to over 90 percent, thereby increasing the chances of Nigeria towards achieving the global 2030 target, which is expected to bring the menace to a considerable halt. Global Product Director for HIV and TB, Abbot, Dr. Rachel O’shea who stated this at the just concluded African Science Laboratory Medicine conference in Abuja, said Nigeria’s partnership with Abbot, a global donor, has created a pathway for the M-PMA point of care technology, which focuses on infants.

She said this new technology, which has been endorsed by the World Health Organization (WHO), has proven to improve patient care and has the ability to detect the presence of HIV in women, and especially children born with the virus. She lamented that Nigeria was one of the countries that still has a long way to go in reaching the standard, adding that only 24 percent of babies have the chance to be tested to know their status. While reiterating that Abbot was for testing and not for treatment, O’shea said it was one of the largest testing organizations well known for HIV test, which will be expanded in the country based on the regulatory policies of the government.

She said, “M-PMA focuses on newborn babies. It deals with the diagnosis of infants with HIV. If they have been found to test positive, they can start receiving ante retroviral drugs. Without M-PMA, they will die before their second birthday. Nigeria is one of the countries that still has a long way to go to reach the standard 24 percent. In other countries, it is up to 78 percent and we are trying to close that gap. The objective is to achieve a 90:90:90 ratio. 90 per ent of people with HIV should know their status. 90 percent of people who know their status should be placed on treatment. While the last 90 percent is to ensure that the treatment works and transmission is reduced.”

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