Mother-to-child HIV transmission reduces in Burundi

The transmission of HIV/AIDS from mothers to children has tremendously reduced in Burundi, said a Burundian health official on Friday in the country’s capital city Bujumbura.

“The situation of preventing mother-to-child transmission in Burundi is very satisfactory. A lot of positive achievements have been made even if we have not yet completely eradicated the HIV transmission from mothers to their babies,” the director of Burundi’s PMCT program of the Burundian ministry of health Felicite Nkunzimana told Xinhua in an interview on the World AIDS Day.

According to her, the PMCT program is underway in Burundi since 2000 with the creation of the first site at the Community Health Center of Buyenzi in the east African country’s capital Bujumbura.

Burundi has 1,018 sites countrywide where PMCT services are offered, said Nkunzimana, adding that the number of women who are HIV positive and who got antiretroviral drugs increased from 42 percent in 2012 to 85 percent this year.

The HIV transmission rate from mother-to-child during pregnancy or delivery reduced from 21 percent in 2012 to 6 percent by the end of 2016, according to her.

She however regretted that some men are still “reluctant” to go for HIV screening and refuse to accompany their wives during pregnancy consultations.

Less than 50 percent of pregnant women are accompanied by their husbands during pregnancy consultations, she said.

The number of people who live with HIV in Burundi is estimated between 65,000 to 110,000, according to UNAIDS.

The central African country has the population of about 10 million.