Botswana: Families Benefit from Early Infant Testing Program (April 2007)


When she discovered that she was pregnant with twins, Balekanye Mosweu, a 25-year-old, HIV-positive mother in Botswana, worried about mother-to-child HIV transmission. However, because of early infant testing, she learned that her babies were HIV-negative soon after their birth.

Mosweu's twins were tested as part of a PEPFAR-supported prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission program. Under the early infant testing method used in Botswana, health care providers can diagnose infants with HIV using DNA PCR by collecting dried blood spots, to test infants as early as six weeks after birth. These dried blood samples are stable, do not require refrigeration, and can be transported whenever practical.

Previously, health care workers had to wait until the infant was 18 months old to be tested. By this time, many infants are no longer close to a testing facility or already have advanced HIV.

"It was a miracle," Mosweu said. "At the end of the day, the results came so fast, so it was so much easier to relax and enjoy bringing up my children."


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