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South African Press Association

South Africa: Court orders ARVs for baby after parents object


The Western Cape High Court has given permission for the SA Military Health Service (SAMHS) to administer antiretrovirals (ARVs) to the newborn baby of a soldier, it was reported on Tuesday.

The Cape Town army soldier and his wife had objected to the baby receiving HIV/Aids medication, presumably because of religious beliefs, Beeld reported.

The SAMHS submitted an application for an urgent interdict directly after the boy's birth last week.

International guidelines state that the infant of an infected mother must be given the drugs immediately after birth for about four weeks to prevent transmission of the virus.

SAMHS spokesman Colonel Louis Kirstein told the newspaper it was the first time the service had gone to such extremes to treat a baby with ARVs.

He said it had an obligation to act in the best interests of a child if the parents deliberately interfered in its treatment.

The baby's parents apparently refused to believe that the child needed to receive ARV treatment.

"We have no intention of interfering in parents' rights regarding their child. We just wanted to make sure the baby gets the necessary drugs within 72 hours. It is unfortunate that we had to go to such extremes," Kirstein said.

The court gave the SAMHS the right to administer the ARVs under the supervision of medical officers.

According to the report, the chances of a baby becoming HIV-positive are 15% and 45% without treatment and five percent with treatment.


South African Press Association (Johannesburg) provides news to news organizations around the world. 

Information in this article was accurate in March 12, 2013. The state of the art may have changed since the publication date. This material is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between you and your doctor. Always discuss treatment options with a doctor who specializes in treating HIV.