South Africa - Hospital

St. Mary's Hospital at Mariannhill near Durban has a very large caseload of AIDS patients, notably children. About 72 per cent of people who go to them for testing are HIV positive.

The Born to Live program at St. Mary's Hospital, which is where African AIDS Angels funds go, provides anti-retroviral drugs to pregnant women in order to block the transmission of of AIDS from mother to child at delivery. "Born to Live" has a 94% success rate in the prevention of HIV transmission from mother to child. The program serves as a demonstration model for Africa.

Since the South African government has started paying for anti-retroviral drugs, we have shifted our donations to meet the program's vital additional costs such as social support and laboratory work. Both the mother and child are given personal, focused medical attention for an unlimited time after the birth of the child. This support ensures a higher success rate if the mother or child, or both, are on antiretroviral treatment.

This unit sees about 5000 patients per annum. In 2008, 464 mothers were added. It costs about $66 per year for each patient.

One patient's story:

After I was diagnosed with HIV I disclosed to my husband. He was also positive, but he was not well, had TB, and infected all of us in the family. He died from it. I am now on ARVs with TB treatment. At the beginning I used to have problems but now I am very healthy and you won't even notice that I am HIV positive.

Rose, age 35

St. Mary's Hospital has its own website.