Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission Toolkit

An estimated 2.1 million children worldwide (under 15 years of age) are infected with HIV, with 430,000 children becoming newly infected each year. Ninety percent of these children become infected with HIV by mother-to-child transmission (MTCT). Without intervention, the risk of MTCT among infants born to women who are HIV positive ranges from 15% to 45%. Without effective treatment, one third of infected infants will die before their first birthday, and half will die before two years of age.

Despite tremendous achievements over the past decade in the reduction of maternal to child transmission of HIV, persistent unmet need exists for preventing MTCT. In low- and middle-income countries especially, too few women are receiving HIV prevention and treatment services to protect themselves or their children. The global community has committed itself to accelerate progress and scale up prevention of MTCT efforts with the goal of eliminating new pediatric HIV infections by 2015 and improving maternal, newborn, and child survival and health in the context of HIV.

To achieve virtual elimination of MTCT, The Global Plan Towards the Elimination of New HIV Infections Among Children By 2015 from UNAIDS indicates that programs must scale-up coverage of more effective antiretroviral (ARV) interventions and safer infant feeding practices. In addition, a comprehensive approach including meeting unmet family planning needs and reducing new HIV infections among reproductive age women is needed.

The global strategic response for preventing MTCT involves a four-pronged strategy:

  • Prevent primary HIV infection among girls and women.
  • Prevent unintended pregnancies among women living with HIV.
  • Reduce MTCT of HIV through ART or ARV prophylaxis, safer obstetrical practices, and safe infant feeding.
  • Provide care, treatment, and support to women living with HIV and their families.

This toolkit for health policy makers, program managers, and service providers presents links to guidelines and tools to help plan, manage, evaluate, and support programs working towards preventing and eliminating MTCT. The information is divided into Essential Knowledge, Policies and Guidelines, Training, Program Management, Service Delivery, Advocacy and Communication, and Country Experiences. Links to resources on these topics can be found under the main navigation to the right.

If you have an experience to share about the introduction or provision of services to eliminate MTCT, we invite you to tell us about it through the feedback form, where you can also suggest new resources. To find out if a resource has already been included in this toolkit, click on the Site Map link at the top of this page or type the resource title in the search box. For more detailed information about this and other K4Health eToolkits go to the About link at the top of this page.

Learn more about Prevention of Mother-To-Child Transmission. Take the Global Health eLearning Course (registration required).

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Toolkit last updated: April 21, 2014