Expectant mothers to get free HIV/AIDS drugs

HIV-positive pregnant women in Swaziland are set to benefit from a consignment of nevirapine, the drug that helps to reduce mother-to-child transmission of the virus, an official said on Monday.

The National AIDS Programme (NAP) said the consignment was at a depot in South Africa after being shipped by a leading German pharmaceutical company and would be freely available within two weeks.

"The drugs are the result of negotiations between the government and Boehringer-Ingelheim. They are crucial in preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV," the NAP counselling coordinator, Rejoice Nkambule, told the UN news service PlusNews.

Nkambule said the drugs will be provided free of charge over a period of five years to expectant HIV-positive mothers at three government sites.

"Government is currently negotiating price-cuts on antiretroviral drugs for all people living with HIV/AIDS," Nkambule added.