One in five Swazi children infected by HIV got it from the negligence of medical staff in Swaziland.
They did not contract the virus from their own HIV-positive mothers. In many cases the mothers of HIV-positive children in Swaziland are themselves HIV-negative.
A new academic research study to be published tomorrow (1 December 2009) to coincide with World AIDS Day says the children probably became HIV-positive because Swazi medical staff gave them injections with contaminated needles. The injections were often unnecessary.
Swaziland has the highest rate of HIV infection in the world with 26 per cent of the adult population infected. Life expectancy in the kingdom is now 32 years.
Using data from the Swaziland Demographic and Health Survey, the authors of the research found that one in five Swazi children aged two to 12 who are infected with the virus have HIV-negative mothers.
These children had experienced many more medical injections and vaccinations than their uninfected brothers or sisters. Most of these related to anti-malaria health programmes.
Africans are subject to a much higher proportion of injections and blood tests than patients in the West, according to a 1999 study for the World Health Organisation.
That research found that a wide range of common symptoms such as colds, ear infections, fatigue and tonsillitis were treated with injections rather than oral medication.
The study concluded that at least 50 per cent of these were unsafe, with needles being used repeatedly on one patient after another, without sterilisation.
Source Daily Telegraph, UK.