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close this bookPrevention of HIV Transmission from Mother to Child: Strategic options (Best Practice - Key Material) (UNAIDS, 1999, 24 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
close this folder1. Introduction
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View the document1.1 The risk of MTCT
View the document1.2 Prevention strategies
View the document1.3 The cost of inaction
close this folder2. Major issues for decision-making
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View the document2.1 Counselling and voluntary testing
View the document2.2 Stigma and discrimination
View the document2.3 Health care systems
View the document2.4 Replacement feeding
View the document3. Pilot projects
View the document4. The wider benefits of the package of interventions
View the document5. Questions of ethics
View the document6. Affordability and cost-effectiveness of the strategy
View the document7. A decision tree

1.3 The cost of inaction

The cost of doing nothing to reduce MTCT will depend a great deal on the prevalence of HIV infection among parents-to-be. In areas where 20% or more of pregnant women are HIV-positive, the financial cost of caring for sick and dying HIV-infected children will be enormous, and there will be significant loss of the benefits from the huge commitment of time, energy and resources spent on reducing child morbidity and mortality over recent decades. Where HIV prevalence is low, health care costs will be relatively low too, and the waste of resources already spent on child survival not quite so dramatic. However, the costs for families and communities cannot be measured in financial terms alone, and many couples will bear responsibility for looking after their infected babies, often while struggling to cope with their own ill-health.