Clinton Health Access Initiative
Eliminating Mother to Child Transmission
Over two million HIV-positive women give birth annually, and most of these births occur in areas where access to quality comprehensive health services and HIV medication regimens are limited. It is estimated that over 1,000 children become infected with HIV daily and that 90 percent of new infections in children are due to mother-to-child transmission (MTCT). This tragedy leads to a child dying every two minutes. In the developed world – where HIV-positive women can access comprehensive testing, care, and treatment – the rate of MTCT of HIV is less than two percent. In the developing world, however, an inadequate continuum of care leads to MTCT rates as high as 45 percent.
In September 2008, CHAI launched a program to dramatically increase global efforts to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT) in six countries. Building on our work to scale up HIV testing and treatment for children, CHAI’s PMTCT program takes a comprehensive approach to stopping new pediatric infections. We support mothers and babies “across the cascade,” meaning from pregnancy and delivery through breastfeeding and into long-term care for HIV-positive mothers and children. Unlike many PMTCT efforts that focus only on one part of the cascade, CHAI’s work is demonstrating that a comprehensive, integrated system of care will be critical to reaching the ultimate goal of eliminating new pediatric HIV infections.