PlusNews Examines Cases Of Hospital-Acquired HIV In Africa

PlusNews examines several recent reports that highlight how unsanitary hospital procedures can create an environment conducive to the spread of HIV/AIDS.

“One study of HIV-positive Swazi children aged between 2 and 12, which relied on data from the 2006-2007 Swaziland Demographic and Health Survey, found that one in five of the children had HIV-negative mothers. Discounting the possibility that child sexual abuse could account for such a significant share of paediatric infections, the authors suggested that contaminated needles used to administer vaccinations and injections were to blame,” the news service writes. “This argument was supported by evidence from a Kenyan study, which found that HIV-infected children with HIV-negative mothers had experienced more potential blood exposures during malaria treatment, dental surgery and vaccinations than their uninfected siblings.”

The news service continues: “Another study in the journal published by the British Association of Sexual Health and HIV, found that clients at voluntary HIV counselling and testing centres run by the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital in southeastern Nigeria, who contracted HIV, were significantly more likely to have had blood tests, vaccinations, blood transfusions or surgical procedures than those who remained negative.”

The article includes comments by study researchers, who say HIV prevention programs should improve blood screening and equipment sterilization in addition to addressing sexual behavior, and outside experts who say the studies raise interesting questions, but warn that more research is needed to fully grasp the extent of the problem (12/7).