Can Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV Be Eliminated?

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The prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT) is a major health challenge and one that is addressed by an MHTF-supported project at mothers2 mothers. According to AVERT, “Without treatment, around 15-30 percent of babies born to HIV-infected women will become infected with HIV during pregnancy and delivery. A further 5-20 percent will become infected through breastfeeding.” However, access to drugs can drastically reduce the likelihood that a child of an HIV-positive mother will become infected.

UNICEF believes that with the right funding and implementation, mother-to-child transmission can eliminated. A recent slideshow from Scientific American follows a mother and her child over the course of their PMTCT program and notes:

Every day more than 1,000 infants worldwide are infected with HIV during gestation, delivery or breast-feeding, according to U.N. estimates. But the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) says it will eliminate the transmission of HIV from mothers to their babies in just four years. It’s an ambitious goal that the fund is unlikely to meet without major changes, but it’s not impossible…

This slide show explores what is needed to stop mother-to-child HIV transmission by 2015, following Inonge Siamalambo and her baby Elson of Lusaka, Zambia, through their 18-month commitment to a transmission prevention program.