Prevention of mother-to-child transmission refers to interventions to prevent transmission of HIV from an HIV-positive mother to her infant during pregnancy, labor, delivery, or breastfeeding.
An effective Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission programme requires mothers and their babies to:
Receive antenatal services and HIV testing during pregnancy.
Have access to antiretroviral treatment (ART)
Practice safe childbirth practices and appropriate infant feeding.
After birth, babies born to a mother with HIV are given ART right away for 4 to 6 weeks. When a mother is treated for HIV early in the pregnancy, the risk of transmitting HIV to the baby can be1% or less. Breast milk can have HIV in it. So, after delivery, the mother can prevent giving HIV to the baby by not breastfeeding. In this case alternative feeding other than breast feeding of the baby is introduced.This may include feeding the baby using bottles.
Prevention of mother-to-child transmission programmes offer a range of services for women of reproductive age living with or at risk of HIV to maintain their health and stop their infants from acquiring HIV. Services should be offered before conception, and throughout pregnancy, labour and breastfeeding.The baby should as well be diagnosed six months after birth,at 18 months and/or when breastfeeding ends, and ART initiation as soon as possible for HIV-exposed infants to prevent HIV acquisition. Keeping women and infants in this programmes after delivery is challenging. In some countries more infant infections are now occurring during the postnatal period due to breastfeeding rather than pregnancy or labour due to the high rates of women who leave care.Infant feeding and the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIVMother-to-child transmission of HIV is the primary mode of HIV infection in infants.
Transmission can occur during pregnancy, birth, or through breastfeeding. Decisions on whether or not HIV-infected mothers should breastfeed their infants is generally based on comparing the risk of infants acquiring HIV through breastfeeding, with the increased risk of death from malnutrition, diarrhea and pneumonia if the infants are not exclusively breastfed.
Accumulating evidence has shown that giving antiretroviral medicines to the mother or the infant cann significantly reduce the risk of HIV transmission through breastfeeding. National health authorities can refer to this evidence when formulating a strategy on infant feeding.
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