Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission
In the absence of any interventions, the likelihood that an HIV-positive mother will transmit the virus to her child during pregnancy, labor, delivery, or breastfeeding can range from 15% to 45%. However, this rate can be reduced to levels under 5% with the use of critical prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) interventions, including antiretroviral therapy for the expectant mother and her newborn child, hygienic delivery conditions, and safe infant feeding. Data released in 2013 show great progress in PMTCT over the last decade. Between 2005 and 2012, more than 850,000 new childhood infections were averted in low- and middle-income countries.
PMTCT is critical to saving lives and curbing the impact of the HIV epidemic—particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa, where the majority of women living with HIV reside and where infant mortality remains high. In line with recommendations of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, EngenderHealth supports comprehensive prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV programs at hospitals in both urban and rural areas in Ethiopia and Tanzania. Our activities in these countries include:
- Implementing interventions to prevent transmission of HIV during labor, at delivery, and following 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 that 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