April 25th, 2008
04:50 PM ET

Preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS in Peru

AIDS prevention in Peru

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, on assignment in Lima, Peru had the chance to stop by an AIDS prevention clinic.  Watch a behind-the-scenes look at what he found, and the tactics Peruvian doctors are using to prevent the transmission of HIV/AIDS from mothers to their newborns.

Do you think these efforts will have a major impact on the spread of this tragic disease?

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soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. Grace

    For the child saved, it is certainly a big impact. How big of an impact these efforts will have on AIDS overall, I don't know. There is not enough information from this blog entry and video clip alone. It would be helpful to know what is the estimated percentage of HIV transmissions occurring through mothers to their newborns, compared to the percentage transmitted through other means, namely sexual transmission, which I am guessing is still the major culprit. Also, it would be helpful to know what is the fate of a child born with HIV. How long do they live? What is their quality of life? What are the chances that they will also pass it to someone else during their lifetime?

    April 25, 2008 at 20:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Kathryn

    Certainly safer delivery and feeding practices are effective strategies for helping to prevent mother to child transmission. There is no mention in this story, however, of ARV drug therapy during pregnancy. This is also an important treatment procedure for reducing the risk of transmission.

    April 26, 2008 at 14:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Gita

    Sanjay, you need some rest first! I am prescribing you one week off from work of course:-) What has happened to you? Please give substantial data/percentage of risks.

    Definitely, this is one good way of preventing the transmission. It may not have great impact. Because the female was not born infected(I guess) but she got it through the course of life. Same thing will happen to the child also even if it is not infected. Without sex education, it may not produce significant change. Are these women informed how HIV is spread? Do they know how they got infected? In South Africa, lot of ignorance and usage of non-sterile equipments plus unprotected sex(male circumcision and FGM non-sense in the name of ritual still prevails I guess) greatly contributed to HIV. It may become like Diabetes. It's increasing but with availability of drugs people survive and live longer.

    Mother to child transmission can occur in utero or at childbirth or through breastfeeding. Risk significantly increses if the mother has advanced HIV, or incresed levels of HIV in her bloodstream or low counts of CD4+T cells which are the main targets of HIV once they get entry through CCR5 receptor(this is the gateway for HIV to access T cells). In developing countries, this risk is introduced through breastfeeding. Combined with anti retro viral therapy, C section reduces the risk of transmission otherwise C section alone doesn't reduce the risk in some women.

    AIDS progression in children is more rapid and unpredictable than adults. Scientists have observed two patterns in HIV infected children. 20% of the infected newborns develop serious disease and die by the age of 5. 80% develop slow progression of the disease and live longer probably into adulthood also. Agressive course of treatment would be required for young infants whose viral load is high and the CD4+T counts low in the first few several months. Using PCR based technique, the test can detect the minute quantities of the virus in infant's blood.

    Anti retroviral drugs are expensive and not easily available in developing and under developed countries.Why don't you document one infected child's story? I think NY and Miami ranks in the top of infected children under 13(african american). People take this virus for granted! If you do a nice and detailed documentary, it will open the eyes and the mind of the people.

    You are an amazing doctor;so give punch line statistics & story without any fear. No two-liners like this video clip please:-) Seeing the title HIV/AIDS, I thought it was one hour documentary. I was disappointed by you that it got ended in 2 mnts! You have the potential to give great wealth of information. If you haven't read this book "Anatomy of Hope" by Jerome Groopman(hematologist & oncologist), please read it when you have free time! Every doctor should read it.

    April 28, 2008 at 12:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Robert Gallo

    It's great to see that people are traveling, and speaking up about HIV/Aids and especially helping developing countries. ONE condoms has sent more than 100,000 condoms to both presidential candidates to donate. Obama has made the strongest stance of any candidate in history on Global Disease prevention and treatment. And with companies like ONE, I'm sure one day Aids will be a thing of the past.

    November 5, 2008 at 18:47 | Report abuse | Reply

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About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.