The paediatrics unit of the Soshanguve community health centre north of Pretoria is bustling. The benches in the waiting area and outside the consultation rooms are filled with children and their mothers waiting to be seen by one of the nurses on duty.
Happy Maifadi has come to see whether the results for her baby’s HIV test are back from the laboratory. Although she has been waiting for the results for several weeks now, Maifadi is not worried.
When testing for HIV in children younger than two years old, doctors test for the virus’s DNA in the blood as opposed to the standard HIV test that tests for antibodies. The antibody test is used for older children and adults, but is not accurate in the cases of babies because their antibodies are not yet fully developed. In South Africa, babies born to HIV-positive mothers are tested at six weeks and again at 18 months.
Read it at the M&G.
Image – M&G