Nurse collecting blood sample at a PPTCT centre.
UNICEF actively supports the Government’s programme for Prevention of Parent to Child Transmission of HIV (PPTCT). Giving anti-retroviral drugs to HIV-positive pregnant mothers has helped bring down transmission rates from 30 per cent to less than 10 per cent.
Around 65 PPTCT centres in Tamil Nadu and 37 in Andhra Pradesh help provide counselling to women attending antenatal clinics.
Those who test positive are encouraged to get started on anti-retroviral drugs and have regular follow-ups. Instead of simply addressing prevention of transmission from an HIV positive mother to her infant, the strategy includes care and support for the mother, prevention of HIV in young people and prevention of unintended pregnancies in HIV-positive women.
In Tamil Nadu, the programme has led to the creation of a Positive Mothers network, which is a tremendous source of support. It has also helped reduce stigma among medical and paramedical workers and improved the supply of nutritive supplements for positive mothers.