The Art of Anti-Retrovirals
Art is an act of creation, a story, dance or image.
Science is the basis of medicine. Yet art and science come together in the extraordinary possibilities opened up through Anti- Retroviral Therapy (ART).
Mother’s Heart’s first HIV mother and baby have heard that the baby is CLEAR! And the staff at Mother’s Heart are rejoicing.
During pregnancy, the mother to be receives regular blood tests and anti-retroviral drugs to inhibit the disease. She then has a Caesarean Section to prevent transmission at birth. Following birth, her baby receives ART as well as being exclusively fed on milk formula. Over the next 18 months the baby is tested three times for the presence of HIV. (Mother’s antibodies can show up in the baby, hence the multiple tests). It is only at the third and final test that there is certainty the baby does not have the fatal virus.
This process does not come cheaply. Although the ART drugs are government funded, the tests, Caesarean Section, formula, and sustaining the mother in vitamins and a good diet are not. Mother’s Heart bears the brunt of these costs. Through enormous commitment by the staff and mother over a period of about two years a baby has the freedom to have a life without HIV.
Mother’s Heart has six more HIV positive women on its programme, all hoping, together with the staff, that they can achieve the same results for these precious women and their babies. And that is worth writing a story about!