UNGASS Fact Sheet – Gender and HIV/AIDS June 2001 New York
Voluntary counseling and testing (VCT) is one cost effective way of promoting behavioural change with respect to sexual practices,
and is an important tool for reducing transmission rates of HIV. Studies have indicated that the acceptability of VCT by
pregnant women in antenatal care settings is related to the quality of the service from the perspective of: (i) confidentiality; (ii) noncoercive
and non-judgmental attitudes of health providers; (iii) the actual and perceived level of discrimination and stigmatization
communities show towards HIV-positive people; and (iv) the availability of psychological support and care services for HIVpositive
women including availability and access to ARV therapy. In addition, the involvement of the male partner is crucial. In
many settings, male attitudes and perceived or actual behaviour strongly influence the utilization of health services.
Clinical guides for the management of pregnant women with HIV infection, Post-pregnancy care of HIV-infected mothers and
their infants (Field-testing version) WHO, Regional office for Africa, WHO/RHR/01.26, p16.
4 - Pregnant women at high risk of HIV infection should be counselled in condom use to reduce the increased risk of HIV transmission during pregnancy. Consideration should also be given to inform women of the actual risk of HIV transmission to offspring (MTCT occurs in approximately 25 to 35% of cases), and the options available to them (e.g. prevention of unwanted pregnancy, ARVs, and elective cesarean section in some settings). The aim is for pregnant women to make their own informed decisions. Back
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