Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV (PMTCT)
Globally, there are approximately 1.4 million pregnant women living with HIV in low and middle-income countries. Without intervention approximately 25-45% of infants born to HIV positive mothers will become infected. Transmission occurs during pregnancy, labor, and delivery, as well as during breastfeeding and the risk increases with the duration of breastfeeding. Antiretroviral therapy given to expecting mothers reduces the risk of transmitting HIV from an HIV-positive mother to her unborn child. In the United States this transmission rate has been reduced to 1%.
The AMPATH Prevention of Mother-to- hild Transmission (PMTCT) program is one of the most successful HIV control programs world-wide. AMPATH launched its comprehensive PMTCT program in 2005, and currently tests 80,000 pregnant women each year. HIV testing is provided for 99% of all mothers who attend antenatal care clinics in AMPATH's catchment area. Women who are diagnosed with HIV are referred to one of the comprehensive HIV treatment clinics. Over 90% of women are successfully referred. AMPATH provides treatment from 14 weeks gestation and continues through weaning in order to minimize the risk of mother-to-child transmission. For women with advanced HIV disease AMPATH continues to treat for the rest of their life. All expectant mothers are offered infant feeding counseling, and food supplementation throughout pregnancy in order to ensure the very best neonatal outcomes possible. Free formula supplementation is provided for women who are too sick to breast feed or infants who are very sick.
Today, AMPATH has achieved less than 4% mother-to-child transmission rate in the western Kenya catchment of 4 million people.
**See a video on PMTCT by an IU School of Journalism student here.