All Pregnant Women Should be Counselled, Tested for HIV- Pediatrician

The Associate Professor of Pediatric Respiratory/Infectious Disease, University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, Dr Atana Ewa, has urged all pregnant women to go for counselling and be tested for HIV during antenatal.


Ewa gave the advice in Calabar on Wednesday at a three-day workshop to reinvigorate and produce a work plan for journalists on Prevention of Mother-To-Child Transmission (PMTCT).

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

She said that HIV and AIDS was a major cause of infant and childhood mortality and morbidity in Africa.

“Ideally, the healthcare provider should counsel the parents and look for HIV in a child presented to a health facility Provider Initiated Testing and Counseling (PITC),

“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,’’ she said.

Ewa said that early features usually non-specific are fever, diarrhoea, failure to thrive, cough and generalised lymphadenopathy.

Others, she said were later the child would present with features indicative of severe immune suppression, signs of opportunistic infections and recurrent and more severe forms of common illnesses.

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

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