HIV Mother to Child Transmission
HIV Mother to Child Transmission – Transmission of HIV (type 1) from mother to child during pregnancy, vaginal delivery, or from breast feeding. Infected children usually appear healthy at birth, but develop signs of illness months or even years later. It is estimated that in the U.S., 15 to 30 percent of newborns of women with HIV develop the infection. Worldwide, it is estimated that 90 percent of children with HIV below 15 years of age line in sub-Saharan Africa. Risk factors for mother to child HIV transmission include high viral load (usually from inadequate treatment), having an additional sexually transmitted disease, and vaginal delivery. Treatment of infected mothers-to-be with certain antiretroviral drugs significantly decreases the incidence of HIV in newborns and infants. That is why HIV testing is so important both before pregnancy, and early in every pregnancy.