A call has been made for the enactment of a law which will make it mandatory for pregnant women to be tested for HIV if the goal of eradicating mother to child HIV transmission and eventually create an AIDS free generation in Zimbabwe is to be achieved.
While the Zimbabwean law makes it an offence for a person to infect another with HIV knowingly, there is no law which protects the unborn child.
Despite there being medication which prevents pregnant women from transmitting HIV to their unborn children, some women choose to ignore getting tested and end up infecting the new born babies with the deadly virus.
A cross section of Zimbabweans say the government must consider enacting a law that will make it mandatory for every pregnant woman to know her status and if found positive to get medication that will protect the baby.
â€œAll pregnant women should be compelled to get tested. This is not just for their benefit but to protect the unborn baby for contracting the deadly virus,â€ said one Harare resident.
â€œThis is the only way to protect unborn babies and a giant step towards creating an HIV free generation,â€ said the other.
Others were of the opinion that the law if restricted for pregnant women will not have much impact, but the responsible men must also be tested.
According to World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines that were adopted in Zimbabwe, an expectant mother is supposed to take an ARV called Zidovudine when she is about 14 weeks pregnant until the onset of labour so as to prevent the baby from being infected.
The infant will then be given an ARV called nevirapine which protects infants born to HIV-positive mothers from being infected during breastfeeding.