As many as 321,265 expectant mothers across the country received HIV pre-test counselling by the end of the first quarter this year, according to the HIV/AIDS Control Department under the Health Ministry.

HIV positive results were recorded in 420 cases among over 247,000 tested pregnant women, while 370 HIV-infected mothers were given preventive treatment to stop HIV transmission to their babies, the department said.

According to the World Health Organisation, early ARV treatment for HIV-infected expectant mothers, in combination with feeding the new-born babies with non-breast milk, can eliminate transmission of the virus between mothers and children.

However, the department also revealed that many women still have poor access to HIV-transmission preventive services. They have yet to actively reach medical services due to a lack of information and knowledge in HIV/AIDS prevention and control.

Social discrimination is also a barrier hindering them from accessing the service, added the department.

The Ministry of Health has chosen June as the intensive action month for preventing HIV transmission from mothers to babies. It has looked to ease pregnant women’s access to medical services to protect themselves and their children.

During the month, counselling and HIV tests will be provided in local health care stations in communes and wards to detect infected cases early for timely treatment, while ARV medicine will be supplied fully and continuously, said the department.-VNA