Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission
The face of HIV is increasingly young and female. If a woman living with HIV becomes pregnant, there is a 35 percent chance that she will transmit the virus to her newborn if no preventive action is taken. At the end of 2007, there were over 2.5 million children under age 15 living with HIV, most whom contracted the virus from their mothers during pregnancy, birth, or breastfeeding (UNAIDS). Fortunately, pregnant women who are living with HIV can reduce their chances of passing the virus on to their newborns by 50% by taking antiretroviral drugs (UNICEF).
Preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV is critical to saving lives and curbing the impact of the epidemic—particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, where the majority of women living with HIV live and infant mortality remains high.
In Ethiopia and Tanzania, EngenderHealth has comprehensive prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV programs at hospitals in both urban and rural areas. Our activities in these countries include:
- Implementing interventions to prevent transmission of HIV during labor, delivery, and post-delivery (this includes counseling on safer delivery practices and safer infant feeding options, and the provision of antiretroviral drugs)
- Improving one-on-one HIV prevention counseling, HIV testing and counseling, and the treatment and management of sexually transmitted infections
- Ensuring mothers and their infants receive regular follow-up care and are referred to HIV treatment and care services as needed
- Preventing unintended pregnancies by improving family planning services
- Educating communities about risky behaviors and promote condom use