Eliminating Mother-To-Child HIV Transmission Will Require Major…By Health Affairs
Although some low- and middle-income countries have made progress toward eliminating mother-to-child transmission of HIV, others lack health systems that can deliver accessible and reliable care. We modeled how access to maternal and child health services and the effective delivery of interventions would affect efforts to eliminate HIV transmission during pregnancy and after childbirth in low- and middle-income countries. In countries with high HIV rates, our model predicts transmission rates of 19.7 percent at current levels of access and efficiency of maternal and child health and HIV treatment. Even if current treatment programs were carried out at or near perfect levels, we predict that significant residual mother-to-child transmission (7.9 percent) would remain. The model suggests that under current conditions, poor access to routine health services contributes three times more to overall mother-to-child HIV transmission than do current suboptimal levels of efficiency of anti-HIV-transmission interventions.