SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2016

Preventive efforts reduce pediatric HIV infection in Nigeria study

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A recent study of mother-to-child transmissions of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections, the disease that causes AIDS, in Nigeria found that preventive health-care intervention measures helped reduce infections.

The study, by scientists at the Vanderbilt Institute of Global Health (VIGH), was carried out in rural north-central Nigeria, and the results are available in the Lancet HIV.

Many of these transmissions happen because people do not have access to antiretroviral therapy (ART), which is used to prevent infections, as well as stop infections from spreading throughout the bodies of those already infected.

Mother-to-child transmission rates continue to be a significant health problem in rural areas of underdeveloped nations that have limited resources. Typically, these countries have few health care providers. Nigeria ranks No. 1 in the world for AIDS deaths.

The study shows that health providers can make significant changes to improve areas that have the most discouraging and impoverished situations. These issues can be improved with integrated, family-focused services.

"We show that packaging individually effective interventions can have positive and measurable impacts on progress toward eliminating pediatric HIV infections in Africa," Dr. Muktar Aliyu, first author of the study and a VIGH associate professor of Health Policy and Medicine, as well as VIGH's associate director for research, said.

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