MOSCOW, October 9 (RIA Novosti) - Amnesty International has stated that large numbers of pregnant women and girls in South Africa continue to die for fear of HIV status revelation when this could be prevented, a statement published on the organization's website Thursday said.
"Hundreds of pregnant women and girls are dying needlessly in South Africa. In part, this is because they fear their HIV status may be revealed as they access antenatal care services," the statement claimed.
The organization quoted one woman from Mpumalanga, South African province, saying that "[I]f I go for antiretroviral, my line is that side. All the people in this line they know these people are HIV. That's why people are afraid to come to the clinic."
Amnesty noted that the rate of maternal mortality stands at a high level in South Africa, which registered 1,560 and 1,426 deaths in 2011 and 2012 respectively, with over a third of them being connected with HIV.
What is more, 60 percent of the deaths could have been avoided, the statement stressed.
The organization additionally reported that lack of information and transport problems are also to blame for the lamentable situation.
In the statement, Amnesty International appeals to the authorities of South Africa to secure the necessary conditions to tackle the problem.
"The South African government must ensure all departments work together to urgently address all the barriers that place the health of pregnant women and girls at risk," the statement added.
The situation continues to be in place even though antenatal care is free in South Africa's public health system.