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UGANDA: Pregnancy may heighten HIV/AIDS risk

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

JOHANNESBURG, 30 September (PLUSNEWS) - Pregnant women in the Rakai district of Uganda were found to be twice as likely to become infected with HIV/AIDS than women who were not pregnant, according to a study published in the latest issue of the medical journal, The Lancet.

Taking into account socioeconomic factors such as social background, sexual activity and use of condoms, doctors monitored infection rates for the HI virus among approximately 10,500 women, about a fifth of whom were pregnant or breastfeeding.

Dr Ronald H. Gray, main author of the report, commented, "I was surprised that, after adjusting for all the behaviours we could think of, we still saw the increased risk during pregnancy and by the process of elimination, that suggests possible biological effects."

Suggesting that "either hormonal changes in pregnancy or an immunologic effect of pregnancy could increase susceptibility", the researchers were not sure why pregnant women appeared to be especially vulnerable.

Nevertheless, the report noted that "there are very strong arguments for the use of condoms during pregnancy to prevent HIV infection and other sexually transmitted disease infections known to have adverse consequences to the newborn".



Recent UGANDA Reports
Global fund lifts ban on AIDS grants,  11/Nov/05
Inquiry starts into mismanagement of AIDS funds,  14/Sep/05
Government to probe use of anti-AIDS grants,  26/Aug/05
Global fund suspends anti-AIDS grants,  24/Aug/05
ARV targets achieved ahead of schedule,  20/Jul/05
· AIDS Media Center
· The Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis & Malaria
· International Community of Women Living with HIV/AIDS
· International HIV/AIDS Alliance

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