3 Aug 2010

Worries in Fiji that expectant mothers slipping through HIV net

4:51 pm on 3 August 2010

The growing number of new-born babies contracting HIV-AIDS in Fiji has raised concerns that some mothers aren't receiving early enough treatment for the virus.

Of the 21 new cases of HIV this year, three have been new-borns from the island of Vanua Levu

The national advisor on family health, Dr Josaia Samuela, says all expectant mothers are tested for HIV, and if they test positive, they're referred to one of the three main hospitals for treatment.

But Dr Samuela says there seem to be some problems with women being tested and referred for treatment in a timely manner.

"It's a matter of mothers coming early for booking and the great counselling and testing and if that test's positive, and then they are referred early, appropriately, to the nearest divisional hospital and put on early drugs."

Dr Josaia Samuela says the Health Ministry will need to do more work on encouraging expectant mothers not to wait to get tested.