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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Post: IAC (Third Day of Panels, 2)

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

Community Support to End Vertical Transmission

Now, if you've read some posts before, you are aware of why I felt the need to attend this panel.
Community Support also caught my attention, I figured it would be more down to earth than a regular research panel.

Unfortunately, I didn't stick around long for a few reasons.
1. As soon as the first panel started I knew this was (again) not the type of information I was looking for or thought I would get when I sat in the room.
2. There would be no presentations on information for the US
3. It was at 6:30 PM and I had been up for a bit (And the bus people came)
4. I really had to go to the bathroom
5. Mom was taking my wonderful co-facilitator and I out to dinner

I will summarize and try to provide you with as much information that I did obtain.

Beatrice Chola (Zambia): Prevention of Vertical Transmission of HIV in Zambia

In the age group of 15-49, 14.3% have HIV.

16.1% of HIV infections are women.

Vertical Transmission is a major mode of transmission in Zambia.

Solutions that have been enacted, and still need to be enforced include:  (Biso Program)
  • Inclusion of MEN
  • Helping women go to clinics (stay on treatment for self and child)
  • Enforcing Pre-Natal Care (monitoring the CD4 count of the mother, treating mother, and monitoring the pregnancy)
  • Enforcing Post-Natal Care (Alternative Infant Feeding options, providing mentors with new mothers)
  • The creation of a holistic approach (including nutrition, cooking, and hygiene)
  • Providing income generating activities (business skills & training)
  • Providing support for children
  • Enabling psychological support
A major dilemma with the Biso Program is that there are limited alternative infant feeding options. This is a crucial point since transmission risk doesn't end with the mother just giving birth, breastfeeding is a mode of transmission. Tricky & complex business here...

Overall, I'm sure this information was more influential to someone else in the room, and it was interesting to hear about a community program, but I guess I need something a little more personal and that I can relate more to.

I think about Vertical Transmission a lot (yes, even though I am not giving birth any time soon). I more think about it because from what I do know, in order to reduce risk of mother-to-child transmission, I would have to have a C-Section, and not breastfeed. It kind of bums me out since everyone is always talking about the "natural way for birth" and how it's better for the baby. If I become a mother I definitely want to do what's best for my baby right from the beginning, but unfortunately that includes having the child cut out of me.

The breastfeeding... this is EVERYWHERE now-a-days. "Breast is Best". But again, I won't be able to provide those nutrients to my baby without risk...

Maybe when the time comes some new advances will happen and I don't have to worry about these precautions. But for now... if I want to keep vertical transmission at a low, then I have to keep these facts in mind. 

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