Number of Abortions Decreasing Among HIV-Positive Women in Belarus, Official Says

The number of HIV-positive women in Belarus who are forgoing abortions is increasing, Svyatlana Shylava, chief ob-gyn for the country's Ministry of Health, said on Tuesday, BelaPAN reports.

According to Shylava, about 176 infants were born to HIV-positive women in 2007, up from 52 in 2000 and six in 1996. Since 1987, HIV-positive women in the country have given birth to at least 1,155 infants, 129 of whom tested positive for the virus and eight of whom died of AIDS-related conditions, BelaPAN reports. Shylava said the efficiency of care that HIV-positive women receive depends on how quickly they seek treatment. Last year, 4.7% of HIV-positive pregnant women did not report their pregnancies, down from 11.2% in 2006.

Shylava said that HIV-positive women who become pregnant can schedule a consultation to help decide whether to give birth to the infant. Late-term abortions are only allowed in Belarus if the life of the pregnant woman is deemed at risk (Darashchonak, BelaPAN, 7/1).