More newborns with HIV
The number of children who had contracted HIV/AIDS at birth from
HIV/AIDS affected mothers have exceeded that of last year, a Health
Ministry Official said yesterday.
According to the Health Ministry Spokesman already 52 new born babies
have been identified as having contracted HIV/AIDS from affected
Around 90 new HIV/AIDS cases have been reported during the first 10
months this year and 52 among them are cases where HIV/AIDS has been
contracted by new borns from their mothers.
Sri Lanka's current HIV/AIDS prevalence rate is 0.04 percent, he
added. This is not the fault of the mothers and the blame should go to
the fathers. Hence the Health Ministry has decided to carry out blood
tests to know if they are HIV/AIDS affected. These HIV/AIDS tests will
be done on all pregnant mothers when they attend maternity clinics.
HIV/AIDS transmission from mother to child during pregnancy, labour
and delivery, or breastfeeding is called perinatal transmission.
Perinatal HIV/AIDS transmission is the most common mode of HIV/AIDS
infection in children and is now the source of almost all HIV/AIDS cases
in children in the world, he explained.
When the new born child contracts HIV/AIDS at birth, death is
inevitable after suffering. The HIV/AIDS infected children fail to gain
weight or grow according to standard growth charts used by
pediatricians. They also fail to reach developmental milestones during
the expected time frame and face brain or nervous system problems,
characterized by seizures, difficulty with walking or poor performance
in school and frequent childhood illnesses such as ear infections,
colds, upset stomach and diarrhea. He also said that the cumulative loss
of the world's labour due to HIV/AIDS by 2015 is estimated to be a
staggering 74 million while at least one case is reported daily in Sri
In recent years, HIV/AIDS has emerged as an issue which has a serious
impact on the corporate environment which if not addressed will have
grave consequences such as poor quality productivity, higher labour
turnover, workplace discrimination, higher health care cost and ultimate
drop in profits.