HIV/AIDS

Mother-to-child transmission of HIV

A woman and her child at government hospital in Makeni, Sierra Leone, February 2010
IRIN/N.Palus

The transmission of HIV from a HIV-positive mother to her child during pregnancy, labour, delivery or breastfeeding is called mother-to-child transmission. In the absence of any intervention, transmission rates range from 15% to 45%. This rate can be reduced to below 5% with effective interventions during the periods of pregnancy, labour, delivery and breastfeeding. These interventions primarily involve antiretroviral treatment for the mother and a short course of antiretroviral drugs for the baby. They also include measures to prevent HIV acquisition in the pregnant woman and appropriate breastfeeding practices.

Contact us

World Health Organization
HIV/AIDS Department
20, Avenue Appia
CH-1211 Geneva 27
Switzerland
Email: hiv-aids@who.int

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