HIV Transmission Prevention


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HIV Transmission Prevention Essay, Research Paper

The percentage of HIV transmission from mother to child can be prevented in a

number of ways. I. The AZT treatment is one way to prevent HIV. A. AZT is a drug

that decreases mother to child transmission of HIV. B. AZT is given to the HIV

positive mother throughout her pregnancy. II. HIV can be contracted through

breast-feeding. A. There is a 14% chance of transmission of HIV from mother to

child through breast-feeding. B. There are alternatives to breast-feeding, such

as formula and a milk bank. 1. Alternatives to breast-feeding have their bad

sides. 2. Breast-feeding can be made safer. III. HIV testing in pregnant women

can lower HIV transmission from mother to child. A. HIV testing in pregnant

women is a good idea. 1. Mother who knows their HIV status can make informed

choices about their pregnancy. 2. Voluntary HIV testing in pregnant women has a

very low success rate. 3. Women are scared of the test results. 4. Prenatal HIV

testing is less costly than treating the mother and the child for HIV. B.

Mandatory testing for HIV in pregnant women also has it?s down sides. 1. Women

could be scared away from the health care system. 2. Tests may not be

confidential. Preventing HIV Transmission from Mother to Child ?In 1993,

approximately 7,000 HIV-infected women gave birth in the United States. Of those

newborns, 1,000 to 2,000 are infected with HIV-now the seventh leading cause of

death in children aged 1 to 4? (Gordon and Hooker). HIV in children is

becoming more and more widespread and there is still no cure for it. The most

common way children contract HIV is through their mother. The percentage of HIV

transmission from mother to child can be prevented in a number of ways. One of

the ways HIV transmission from mother to child can be prevented is through AZT

treatment. AZT is a drug that is given to HIV positive mothers, which can

decrease mother to child transmission by 67.5 percent (Gordon and Hooker). The

mother is given five doses of AZT a day for the last six months of her pregnancy

and then four doses during labor and an AZT syrup is given to the newborn for

six weeks after birth (Gordon and Hooker). AZT is the only drug approved for

preventing HIV transmission from mother to child (?Women and HIV? 10).

Mothers choosing to not breast-feed their children can also prevent HIV

transmission. The chance that a newborn can contract HIV from their mother?s

breast milk is up to 14 percent (Kent). ?In October 1995 the U.S. Food and

Drug Administration?s FDA consumer magazine said ? Women who are HIV

positive should not breast-feed?? (Kent). Even though the percentage of

mother to child transmission through breast milk is low, there is still that

small chance and any chance that a child could contract HIV is too much. There

are alternatives to breast-feeding such as formula or using breast milk from a

milk bank (Kent). Though these alternatives are better than taking the chance of

transmitting HIV to a child, they too have their bad sides. The use of formula,

for example, poses a risk of the newborn getting diarrhea and other life

threatening diseases (Kent). Breast milk can be heated to lessen the chances of

the child contracting HIV, but there is still that small yet deadly chance. HIV

testing in pregnant women could also help stop the transmission of HIV from

mother to child. With a mothers knowledge of HIV status she could be counseled

appropriately so she could choose whether of not to go on with the pregnancy,

fully aware of the risks HIV could pose on her child (Gostin 65). If a mother is

unaware that she has HIV the baby is denied the opportunity to get treatment.

? It?s killing kids who don?t have to die? (Gordon and Hooker). At this

time HIV testing in pregnant women is voluntary and has a very low success rate.

Women won?t take the HIV test because they refuse to believe that they are at

risk and they are scared of the results (Gordon and Hooker). Making HIV testing

mandatory in pregnant women could save a lot of children?s lives. Most HIV

infected children don?t make it to the age of 4 and the rest will f\die before

their teens (Gordon and Hooker). Mandatory HIV testing and AZT treatment is also

less costly for the Health Care System then treating a mother and her child for

HIV for the rest of their lives (Gordon and Hooker). Mother to child

transmission of HIV would be greatly reduced by HIV testing in pregnant women.

Mandatory testing for HIV in pregnant women also has it?s down sides. Testing

the mother would reveal her HIV status and women would get scared away from the

health system and even prenatal care. Civil rights issues also raise concerns.

Women are scared that the HIV test results would not be kept confidential and

they would become the target of prejudice social policy and practice (Gostin

63). Pregnant women are more likely to go to a doctor and get prenatal care if

they do not feel pressured into taking HIV tests. In the future there will

probably be a cure for HIV but until then we need to cut down the spread of the

disease starting with children. They should be given a chance to live a

fulfilling life and the only way that can happen is for their mother to give

them the chance. The percentage of HIV transmission from mother to child can be

prevented in a number of ways. The use of AZT, the testing for HIV in pregnant

women, and HIV mothers choosing not to breast-feed could all lower the rates of

HIV transmission.

Gordon, Dianna and Hooker, Tracey. ?Mothers and AIDS.? State

Legislatures. April, 1995. n. pag. Gastin, Lawrence. AIDS and the Health Care

System. Yale University Press. New Haven and London (1990). pp. 62-67 Kent,

George. ?HIV and Breast-feeding.? Mothering No. 94: may/June (1999). n. pag.

?Women and HIV.? Project Inform. January, 1998

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