Pregnant women HIV Tests

Why Pregnant Women Should Be Advised To Undergo HIV Tests

A Paediatric Professor has given valid reasons why pregnant women should undergo HIV tests.

Dr Atana Ewa, an associate Professor of Paediatric Respiratory/Infectious Disease, University of Calabar Teaching Hospital made this known at a workshop.

This report was obtained from PUNCH Healthwise on Wednesday, October 13.

Dr Ewa said that it is important for pregnant women to get tested for HIV during antenatal. She added that they should also be counselled.

The event was a three-day workshop to revive and produce a work plan for journalists on the Prevention of Mother-To-Child-Transmission.

The workshop was organised by the Child Rights Information Bureau of the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture in collaboration with UNICEF.

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According to Ewa, HIV and AIDS was a major cause of infant deaths in Africa. Among other deaths she listed was childhood mortality and morbidity in Africa.

She said, “Ideally, the healthcare provider should counsel the parents and look for HIV in a child presented to a health facility.

“Identifying HIV in children requires a high index of suspicion.

“Usually the symptoms and signs of HIV infection in childhood are similar to those of other diseases seen in the tropics, but they may be more severe and occur more frequently.

“The common conditions associated with HIV are frequently infectious in nature”.

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Ewa revealed the early symptoms to include: i. fever. ii. Diarrhoea. iii. Failure to thrive. iv. Cough. v. Generalised lymphadenopathy. vi. Signs of opportunistic infections. vii. Recurrent and more severe forms of common illnesses in children.

She emphasized the knowledge of HIV structure. According to her, it is important in understanding the mechanism of antiretroviral drugs (ARVs).

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