31 March 2011
By Kounteya Sinha
New Delhi, India
National AIDS Control Organization (Naco) officials told TOI that the prevalence of infection in pregnant women is like a proxy for the general population. "When we see a dip in prevalence of HIV in pregnant women we know the dip is happening even in the general population. In 2004, prevalence of HIV in pregnant women stood at 0.95% which fell to 0.90% in 2005, 0.60% in 2006 and 0.49% in 2007 and 2008. The new surveillance is presently on in 696 ANCs, and the fresh data will come by May," a Naco official said.
Azad added, "From 2002 to 2009, the adult prevalence of HIV has gone down from 0.45% to 0.31%, which is approximately 32% reduction. In the same period, the number of people living with HIV/AIDS in India has gone down from 27.3 lakhs to 23.1 lakhs." India recorded 18,000 paediatric HIV births off 65,000 HIV+ mothers last year. The nation records 27 million pregnancies annually. There is a 15%–35 % chance of a pregnant woman passing on the virus to her new–born. Naco has changed its treatment protocol for HIV–positive pregnant mothers.
Till recently, women treated under prevention of parentto–child transmission (PPTCT) were given a single dose of Nevirapine drug at the time of labour, and to the newborn soon after the delivery. Now, the Naco has decided that if the pregnant HIV woman is found to have blood CD4 count below 350, she will be put on a full–fledged anti–retroviral therapy (ART) – a three–drug combination throughout her pregnancy.