His eyes searches vainly for his mother.
The boy is too young to comprehend her death
And he is too young to die too.
He thinks he is alone.
But he isnt.
He is one among the estimated 600000 children who become infected with HIV EACH year.
And he is one among the 90%, born to a mother infected with the Virus.
Yet he need not have been infected.
The UNICEF estimates that the number of children who become HIV positive every year could be MORE THAN HALVED if pregnant women living with HIV received comprehensive services including anti-retroviral drugs,
But then only 10% of the women who need these, are getting them,
And his mother wasnt in that 10%.
And he isnt in the fewer than 5 per cent of HIV-positive children who receivetreatment
He is one among the millions of children who have lost parents to the disease and go without support.
So now alone after birth
He wont be alone at death.
His life defined by statistics of minute.
A child dies of an AIDS-related illness
A child becomes infected with HIV
So Some "minute" he will die,
but then, the next minute, another too will die.
Another World AIDS Day
Another day of promises, speeches and pledges
But will the one this year make a difference for him
Will the one this year help another mother, and another child?
Or will they just be a part of another statistic.
And did this take a minute to read?
And already another child dead
And another infected.
Alone and uncared in life,
Together with other uncared in death.
His mother wanted to save him, but was helpless
We arent, are we?
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ON MOTHER TO CHILD HIV TRANSMISSION PREVENTION
Around 1 per cent of pregnant women are HIV-positive;
95 per cent live in developing countries, along with 90 per cent of all HIV-positive children.
If an HIV-positive woman becomes pregnant, there is a 35 per cent chance that she will transmit the virus to her child if no preventative action is taken.
Every year, more than 700,000 children become HIV-positive via transmission from their parents.
Some 15-20 per cent are infected during pregnancy, 50 per cent during delivery and 33 per cent through breastfeeding.
Pregnant women who are HIV-positive can halve the chances of passing HIV on to their babies by taking antiretroviral drugs. Treatment options include a one-month course of zidovudine (AZT) during the last weeks of pregnancy, or a single dose of nevirapine during delivery, followed by a single dose to the infant within 72 hours of birth. The single dose and follow-up can be administered for as little as $10. Obstetrical procedures such as a Caesarean section may also reduce transmission but is often not feasible in many developing countries.
For HIV-positive mothers with limited access to clean water and sanitation, the choice of whether to breastfeed or not can be a painful dilemma. New mothers must weigh the risk of passing on the infection to their infants against the risk of denying them breastmilk. During the first two months, a bottle-fed baby is nearly six times more likely to die from diarrhoeal, respiratory or other infections, compared to a breastfed child, mostly because contaminated water is used in mixing the formula, bottles are unclean and other reasons. Strategies for decreasing the risk of HIV infection include shortening the duration of breastfeeding and preventing and promptly treating breast problems, along with sores or thrush in an infant’s mouth. Reducing the length of breastfeeding from two years to six months alone can reduce the risk of transmission by two thirds. Source
An Example of how Mother to Child Transmission has been prevented in India. Do read it.
Another on AIDS : Right to Life for the Wife
Post Number 224