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An HIV-free generation

Jul 3, 2014

With three HIV-free children, one HIV positive couple from the Democratic Republic of Congo took action to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV. Hubert and Jeanne Mwangaza are an example of proactive parents who, through mutual support and desire to understand the risks of pregnancy with HIV, had three healthy, HIV-free babies. A huge factor in this feat was Hubert’s active involvement and commitment to a healthy pregnancy achieved through an antiretroviral treatment for Jeanne that included daily pills. As Dr. Chewe Luo, UNICEF Senior HIV and AIDS Advisor said in a statement, “Fathers, and supportive partners, cannot be underestimated in the effort to eliminate HIV transmission from mothers to their babies.” One study conducted from 1999 to 2005 found that services that sought to further involve male partners in preventing mother-to-child HIV transmission reduced the risk by 40 percent when compared to no male involvement. The high prevalence of HIV in sub-Sahara African nations has some communities standardizing the testing of pregnant women. Although the virus is still stigmatized in some areas, UNICEF reports that increased male involvement, especially in regards to supportive partners in the case of HIV positive expecting parents, contributes to healthy pregnancies and less chance of mother-to-child conveyance.

A check-up for an HIV-free baby at Hope Through Health's main clinic

A check-up for an HIV-free baby at Hope Through Health’s main clinic

Hope Through Health’s prevention of mother-to-child transmission program in northern Togo has seen many success stories similar to that of Hubert and Jeanne. For the past 2 years, 100% of babies born to mothers in our PMTCT program have been HIV-free. The success of the program is due in part to the dedication of mothers and they support they receive from their partners and their families. As exemplified by the story of the Mwangaza family, partner involvement, not only in the case of pregnancy, is key in the prevention of the spread of HIV and the creation of a new HIV-free generation. Original article available here HIV-Positive Couple Had 3 Kids All Free Of Disease. One Of The Main Reasons? Dad’s Role By Robbie Couch