Infants born in Ganjam district in the last two years were not found to be HIV- infected though some of their mothers had the virus, a senior health official said. The district, which has the highest number of HIV positive cases in Odisha, had detected 16,011 people, including 887 pregnant women, with the virus till October. Babies born to 34 and 23 HIV-infected mothers from 2018 to October, 2019 were found to be HIV negative, he said.
"It is an indicator that the districts HIV-care programme has been effective in checking mother-to-child transmission of the virus," said Chief District Medical Officer (CDMO) of Ganjam, Bijay Chandra Panigrahy.
The National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) started a programme on prevention of parent-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS (PPTCT) some years ago.
There are possibilities of HIV positive women transmitting the virus to their offsprings during pregnancy, childbirth or breast-feeding, he said. "We launched this programme in Ganjam district in 2014," said district programme manager, AIDS Control, Hemant Das.
As part of the programme, all pregnant women undergo preliminary screening at village level anganwardi and primary health centres.
After an expectant mother is found with symptoms of AIDS, she will be referred to the Integrated Councelling and Testing Centre (ICTC) for thorough examination, he said.
As any as 25 ICTCs are functioning at community health centres, district headquarter hospital, sub divisional hospitals, MKCG Medical College and Hospital and some private hospitals in the district, he said.
Once HIV virus is confirmed, a 3-drug regimen is administrated to the woman to reduce the risk of transmission. After the programme was launched, the percentage of HIV transmission from mother to child has drastically reduced in the district, he said.
Earlier, pregnant women were reluctant to undergo tests, but now they come forward for HIV screening at the village level, said Lokanath Mishra, director of an NGO working in the field of AIDS prevention.