Wed, May 10, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Baby born with HIV, first in Taiwan in three years

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

A baby born to an HIV-positive mother has tested positive for HIV, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said yesterday, the first such case in Taiwan in three years.

The mother is a Taiwanese expatriate in her 40s who returned to Taiwan to give birth and was diagnosed with HIV after getting a prenatal checkup, CDC Chronic Infectious Diseases Division chief Huang Yen-fang (黃彥芳) said.

“The mother lives abroad and returned to Taiwan during her third trimester — about eight months — of pregnancy, and had her first prenatal checkup after returning to Taiwan,” Huang said. “Although we took preventive measures, the timing was a little late, so the baby was infected with HIV.”

The mother began treatment for HIV as soon as she was diagnosed, and the baby was also treated after being born through cesarean section, which is standard procedure in HIV cases, but the baby was confirmed to be HIV-positive at two months, she said.

CDC Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) said that while the mother-to-baby transmission case was the first in three years, it was the 35th recorded in Taiwan.

“Taiwan provides free HIV tests for pregnant women, so we urge pregnant women to take the test during their first trimester to help prevent giving birth to an HIV-positive child,” Huang said.

The CDC initiated the free HIV screening program for pregnant women in 2005.

The program includes a comprehensive HIV tests in the first trimester of pregnancy (about 12 weeks), before delivery and a rapid test on the newborn baby, as well as free treatment and enhanced care measures for those who test positive.

CDC statistics showed a total of 1,960 females in Taiwan have tested positive for HIV since the first case was reported in 1987, and the main causes of infection were unprotected sex with people of the opposite sex (50.6 percent) and use of intravenous drugs (46.7 percent).

The main cause of HIV infection in females in the past three years was unsafe sex with someone of the opposite sex, accounting for 76.3 percent of new cases, statistics showed.

While the number of cases of HIV infection in females is less serious in Taiwan than in some other countries, the CDC urges women, especially those who are pregnant, to be tested as soon as they can to ensure early detection and better treatment.

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