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Refereed articles

Taking responsibilities seriously: The role of the state in preventing transmission of HIV from mother to child

Jonathan Berger deals with the issue of the transmission of HIV from mother to child, which is the primary source of infection in young children. The author accepts that preventative interventions substantially reduce mother to child transmission (MTCT) but, without state intervention, access to programmes to prevent MTCT remains an impossibility for most pregnant women in South Africa.

The extent to which the Constitution obliges the state to take steps to reduce MTCT is considered, and whether the government is justified in refusing to commit sufficient resources to a MTCT preventive programme in light of factors such as costs and concerns about a high-technology approach to HIV/AlDS. The author concludes that the failure of government to fully implement MTCT preventive programmes is an unjustifiable limitation of the right to make choices concerning reproduction.

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