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Integrating Rapid Syphilis And HIV Testing For Pregnant Women Could Reduce Maternal, Child Morbidity And Mortality

“A study conducted in Uganda and Zambia by the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF) found high rates of syphilis and HIV co-infection among pregnant women in both countries,” but showed that “integrating rapid syphilis screening and HIV testing for pregnant women was feasible, cost-effective, and helped to prevent transmission of syphilis and HIV from mother-to-child,” PlusNews reports.

“Like HIV, syphilis is a major cause of morbidity and mortality among women and children in developing countries,” the news service writes, noting that the EGPAF study found that 14.3 percent of syphilis-positive pregnant women in Uganda also tested positive for HIV and 24.2 percent tested HIV-positive in Zambia. “The study’s findings convinced Zambia’s health ministry to include rapid syphilis testing in its standard package of PMCT [prevention of mother-to-child transmission] services and antenatal care, said Ministry of Health spokesperson, Reuben Kamoto Mbewe,” PlusNews reports (9/1).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.