Mother-to-Child Transmission

Women holds her daughter on her lap. Both are HIV positive. Bangladesh.
UNICEF/BANA2013-00581/AHSAN KHAN

A Terrible Inheritance

Nearly 30 years into the HIV/AIDS pandemic, the number of children with HIV continues to grow.

Without treatment, an estimated one third of infants living with HIV will die before their first birthday, and half will die before their second birthday.

This doesn't have to happen. When a mother has access to antiretroviral therapy, the chance of HIV transmission is virtually zero.
 
Prevention of mother-to-child-transmission (PMTCT) is the most effective way to create an HIV-free generation.  
 
UNICEF is working to provide the HIV testing, counseling, medication and support mothers need to protect their children. The success shows — according to the latest data, 62% of pregnant women living with HIV in the highest burden countries received services to prevent mother-to-child transmission in 2012.

But while better services to prevent mother to child transmission of HIV averted some 850,000 new infections among children between 2005 and 2012, some 260,000 new infections occurred among children in low and middle-income countries in 2012 alone. There is more work to be done to reach every child and realize an AIDS-free generation.