Screening Pregnant Women for HIV/AIDS

Improving Community Systems to reduce the Mother to Child Transmission of HIV-Infection in Disadvantaged Communities 

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Introduction/Objective

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HIV/AIDS is more prevalent in disadvantaged and densely populated communities. Millions of people have died due to this disease. The disease is found to be affecting more people because of continuing population growth and the effects of antiretroviral therapy (W.H.O, n.d.). In the United States, the government makes use of research studies and scientific evidence to determine resource allocation in favor of the vulnerable groups of people (HIV.org, n.d.). By doing this, the federal government strives to reduce new cases of infections. Resources are needed to ensure timely diagnosis, engage patients in healthcare, and support the treatment of the disease in the effort of suppressing its growth (HIV.org, n.d.).

Women at their reproductive stages know less about the transmission of HIV/AIDS from mother to child and are not aware of how the transmission can be reduced (Sandgren, Sandgren, Urazalin, and Anderson, 2008). Many women seem to know that HIV/AIDS is transmitted by sharing needles with infected persons and through sexual intercourses and to prevent it, condoms are used. Women mostly hear about HIV/AIDS from the media and the schools (Sandgren et al., 2008). To help the government in reducing new cases of HIV/AIDS, women at their reproductive stages need to be educated on how infants can be protected from HIV/AIDS infections and what resources the women can use to protect their infants.

Scope/Evidence

Avert (2019) informs that if a woman is HIV-positive, she can transmit it to her baby during the pregnancy period, at childbirth, and when breastfeeding him/her. This form of transmission has affected the lives of many children (Avert, 2019). Pregnant women need to make use of the healthcare centers to be screened for HIV/AIDS. This they need to do it from the initial stages of pregnancy so that they can be getting the treatment they need to protect their unborn child. Antiretroviral treatment in addition to other interventions given to pregnant women throughout the pregnancy period, weaken the transmission (Avert, 2019). After birth, infants also need to be screened for HIV/AIDS to determine their appropriate feeding. These techniques are said to have prevented over one million infants from HIV/AIDS infection between the years 2010 and 2018 (Avert, 2019).    

Analysis

In the United States, around 5000 pregnant women are HIV-positive every year and cases of mother to child HIV transmission are still there since there are some regions where preventative care is absent (Kinney, 2018). Transmission is stronger when the pregnancy period is almost complete and during delivery (Kinney, 2018). To reduce the number of these cases further, all pregnant women need to be screened for HIV/AIDS and antiretroviral drugs need to be provided in sufficient amounts for each woman found to be HIV-positive (Kinney, 2018). The women need to be educated about the needs of these processes as well. Also, when infants are born, they need to be screened and those that test negative, they should not be breastfed and an alternative feeding program is advised (Kinney, 2018). To make the process more effective, nurses need to advocate for policies that ensure all pregnant women screened for HIV on time. 

Conclusion

Women that are HIV positive need to be educated on how the mother to child transmission can be significantly reduced during pregnancy, delivery, and breastfeeding stages. The healthcare industry needs to be equipped with the resources needed to reach out, support this population, and ultimately reduce cases of HIV/AIDS among children. The media, schools, and other sources of information may not educate and encourage pregnant women to go for screening and become engaged in care in a better way and healthcare workers especially nurses need to fill the gap. The government may not create better policies without the help of the nurses.

References

Avert (2019). Prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV. Retrieved from < https://www.avert.org/professionals/hiv-programming/prevention/prevention-mother-child>.

HIV.gov (n.d.). Reducing new HIV infections. Retrieved from < https://www.hiv.gov/federal-response/federal-activities-agencies/hiv-prevention-activities>.

Kinney, R. G. (2018). Topic 1: Preventing prenatal HIV transmission. Retrieved from < /prevention/preventing-perinatal-transmission/core-concept/all”>https://www.hiv.uw.edu/go/prevention/preventing-perinatal-transmission/core-concept/all>.

Sandgren, E., Sandgren, S., Urazalin, M., and Anderson, R. (2008). HIV/AIDS awareness and risk behavior among pregnant women in Semey, Kazakhstan, 2007. BMC Public Health 8(295). W.H.O. (n.d.). Nutrition activities in care, support and treatment of HIV/AIDS. Retrieved from < https://www.who.int/nutrition/topics/Situation_Analysis_for_SEAR_Countries.pdf>

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