Mother-to-child transmission of HIV

A woman and her child at government hospital in Makeni, Sierra Leone, February 2010

The transmission of HIV from an HIV-positive mother to her child during pregnancy, labour, delivery or breastfeeding is called mother-to-child transmission. In the absence of any interventions transmission rates range from 15-45%. This rate can be reduced to levels below 5% with effective interventions. The global community has committed itself to accelerate progress for the prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission (PMTCT) through an initiative with the goal to eliminate new paediatric HIV infections by 2015 and improve maternal, newborn and child survival and health in the context of HIV.

WHO works together with partners on setting global norms and standards for HIV prevention, care and treatment of pregnant women, mothers and their children, developing evidence-based strategies, defining global targets, baselines and indicators, promoting the integration of PMTCT into maternal-newborn-child health services and strengthening health systems.

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World Health Organization
HIV/AIDS Department
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CH-1211 Geneva 27

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