Drop in mother-to-child HIV transmission hailed

The national HIV mother-to-child transmission rate (MTCT) dropped to 2.7% in 2011, according to a Medical Research Council report released on Thursday. 

"This data shows a major achievement in the reduction off MTCT and we should celebrate it," Dr Ameena Goga of the Medical Research Counciltold reporters in Johannesburg. 

This latest announcement should be seen a major development in South Africa's fight against HIV/Aids, the Medical Research Council said.

While not as dramatic as the drop from the 8% MTCT rate recorded in 2008 to the 3.5% rate of 2010, the 0.8% reduction the following year is still a significant achievement.

Goga said this indicated that an estimated 104 000 babies were saved from MTCT in 2010. 

The decrease occurred in spite of a marginal increase in the percentage of infants exposed to the pandemic through their HIV-positive mothers from 32.6% in 2010 to 33.6% in 2011. 

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