Madonnas & Children

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Two women with HIV/AIDS gave birth to healthy baby boys this year. Although the said women were in the same state of health, they have different experiences when the delivered their respective newborns.

Sarah Jane Salazar, one of the very first Filipinas with HIV/AIDS to come out in public, gave birth on 16 June to a 5.9-pound baby boy. Ritchie Jr., who was named after Ritchie Atizado, Salazar’s live-in partner, was born at the Philippine General Hospital at four in the afternoon.

Although the baby has yet to be tested, he was already considered HIV-positive the day he was born. Ritchie Jr. is the 12th infant of an HOV-positive mother at the PGH, but was only the second delivered through caesarian operation.

Salazar’s delivery was assisted by experts who had helped out in previous deliveries of HIV-positive mothers. Her baby was delivered by and eight-member medical team who also specialize in infectious diseases.

On the other hand, “Susan,” the other HIV positive mother experienced the opposite when she was turned down by the University of the East-Ramon Magsaysay (UERM) Hospital after the staff learned that she had the AIDS virus. The hospital staff, however, explained that they did not just turned “Susan” away, noting that they referred her to another hospital that has the capability to assist in the delivery of an HIV-infected person.

“Susan” gave birth to a baby boy at the Ospital ng Maynila on 31 May.

The DOH immediately conducted an investigation in the alleged refusal of the UERM Hospital to attend to “Susan’s” delivery. The DOH decided to stop the inquiry in deference to the patient’s appeal that further publicity will jeopardize the confidentiality of the case and may force her to risk public exposure when she will be asked to testify.

Health Secretary Reodica said that while the DOH has closed the case, the Department has already taken steps to ensure that “Susan’s” experience will never happen again to other HIV-positive mothers in the future.

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