100% success for HIV team

LUTON & Dunstable Hospital is celebrating 10 years of successfully delivering healthy babies to mums diagnosed with HIV or Aids.

The hospital was one of the first in the UK to provide a specialist maternity service for mothers with the disease, offering them the chance of giving birth to a healthy baby.

And since the service started at the hospital in 2000, around 300 babies have been saved from a lifetime of illness, complex medication and shortened lives caused by the HIV/Aids virus.

Without this expert care in pregnancy and birth, the babies born to those mothers would have run a high likelihood of being born with the disease.

Every pregnancy managed via the specialist service at the L&D has resulted in a baby born free of HIV/Aids – that’s a 100 per cent track record in getting it right every time.

Specialist midwife Sue O’Driscoll has run the HIV maternity service since it started with the support of consultant obstetrician, Malcolm Griffiths. She said: “If a pregnancy is managed properly, with education and support, an HIV positive woman can have a baby who is free of HIV. Our service offers advice not just to pregnant women, but to their whole families to achieve the best and most healthy outcome.

“It is vitally important that women are screened for HIV – which is offered as standard procedure at this hospital in early pregnancy to protect the health of the unborn child and mother.”

Around 20 to 30 cases of pregnant women with HIV or Aids are detected each year at the L&D. And as HIV levels in the UK rise, the importance of screening and the specialist maternity service to women affected by the illness is clear.

Sue O’Driscoll and Malcolm Griffiths achieved the Soraya Dhillon Award for Equality & Diversity at the hospital’s annual staff awards event this month.