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Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission

Mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of HIV, which can occur during pregnancy, childbirth, or through breastfeeding, accounts for more than 90 percent of all cases of childhood HIV infection, especially in countries where effective antiretroviral drugs are not available. As more women of childbearing age become infected, the number of HIV-infected children is expected to rise.

Although opportunities exist to successfully intervene during pregnancy to prevent transmission of HIV from an infected woman to her infant, developement of safe, simple, and inexpensive interventions that would be more widely applicable, particularly in the developing world, remains of the highest importance. NIAID is supporting a number of research studies to develop strategies to prevent MTCT of HIV.

Last Updated November 11, 2009