Stopping HIV at Birth

Stopping HIV at Birth

In an African country with one of the highest HIV infection rates in the world, 20,000 children live with HIV transmitted by their mothers.
In the impoverished mountain kingdom of Lesotho, nearly one in four adults is HIV positive. Completely surrounded by South Africa, this little-known country of 2 million people has one of the highest HIV infection rates in the world. Out of an estimated 800,000 children under the age of 15 in Lesotho at the end of 2005, about 20,000 were living with HIV. Most were infected by their mothers; the virus spread to them during pregnancy or birth or through breast-feeding.

In a series of short, narrated MSNBC slideshows, three Lesotho mothers share their stories of being HIV-positive and the steps they took, or did not take, to prevent spreading HIV to their babies. In most countries, less than 2 percent of mothers with HIV transmit it to their children, but in Lesotho one out of every ten babies is HIV-positive. UNICEF and the Lesotho government are working to prevent the spreading of HIV from mother to child by educating the women on safe sex and supplying them with the proper medicines.

Story, photography, production: Gideon Mendel

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