SOUTH AFRICA: Hospitals failing to treat HIV-positive infants

Photo: Eva-Lotta Jansson/IRIN/IFRC

[www.irinnews.org]

JOHANNESBURG, 2 November 2010 (PlusNews) – KwaZulu-Natal Province remains the epicentre of South Africa’s HIV epidemic but new research reveals that nearly a third of hospitals surveyed had not started a single HIV-positive infant on antiretroviral treatment in several years.

The research, presented at this week’s Orphaned and Vulnerable Children (OVC) in Africa Conference in Johannesburg, was conducted by the University of the Witwatersrand’s Maternal, Adolescent and Child Health (MatCH) Unit, with the government.

MatCH tracked the number of children under 15 who were put on antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) at 10 major KwaZulu-Natal hospitals near the coastal city of Durban over three years. While data collection is often problematic at these facilities, the survey relied on clinic ARV registers and statistics routinely reported to the provincial government.

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