Christie, Celia D.
Author Affiliation, Ana.
Department of Obstetrics, Gynaecology, and Child Health
A Paediatric and Perinatal HIV/AIDS Leadership Initiative in Kingston, Jamaica
West Indian Medical Journal
Date of Publication
In Jamaica 1-2% of pregnant women are HIV-positive; 876 HIV-positive pregnant women will deliver and at least 283 newly infected HIV-infected infants will be born in 2003; HIV/AIDS is the leading cause of death in children aged one to four years. We describe a collaborative 'Town and Gown' programme to address the paediatric and perinatal HIV epidemic in Kingston. Method: A team of academic and government health care personnel, comprising paediatricians, obstetricians, public health practitioners, nurses, microbiologists, data management and information technology personnel collaborated to address this public health emergency. Result: A five-point plan was implemented.This comprised leadership and training of a core group of paediatric/perinatal HIVprofessionals to serve Greater Kingston and St. Catherine and be a model for the rest of Jamaica. Mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS is prevented by counselling and HIV-testing women in the antenatal clinics, giving azidothymidine (AZT) to HIV pregnant women beginning at 28 weeks gestation, throughout labour and to the HIV-exposed infants for the first six weeks of life. A unified parallel programme for identifying the HIV-infected infant and delivering paediatric HIV care at the major paediatric centres was implemented. In three years, over 30,000 pregnant women are being tested for HIV; 600 HIV-exposed babies are being identified and about 140 paediatric HIV infections will be prevented. The team is building research capacity which emphasizes a strong outcomes-based research agenda and implementation of clinical trials. We are collaborating, locally, regionally and internationally. Conclusion: Collaboratively, the mission of reducing mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS and improving the quality of life for those already living and affected by HIV/AIDS can be achieved. (AU)....