How climate change could affect mother-to-child HIV infection rate

Rising global temperatures could have a dire impact on HIV infection rates in newborns according to research by Wits Professor Matthew Chersich.

He's penned a study in the South African Medical Journal suggesting South Africa is on the front line of the climate change crisis because temperatures here are expected to increase at twice the global average.

He explains how that affects mother-to-child transmission of HIV.

Heat can impact so many factors that affect whether the virus is transmitted.

Matthew Chersich, Professor at Wits Reproductive Health and HIV Institute

During hot weather, pregnant women are really vulnerable to have adverse pregnancy outcomes including prematurity.

Matthew Chersich, Professor at Wits Reproductive Health and HIV Institute

There's also mastitis, which is much more common during warm weather and many of the HIV infections are acquired in children during breastfeeding.

Matthew Chersich, Professor at Wits Reproductive Health and HIV Institute

Chersich adds that the warmer it is, the more infections there are.

Heat and bacteria really have a strong relationship.

Matthew Chersich, Professor at Wits Reproductive Health and HIV Institute

Listen to the full interview below...


This article first appeared on CapeTalk : How climate change could affect mother-to-child HIV infection rate


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