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HIV/AIDS: Mother-to-Child Transmission

  • By: Patrick J. Dillon
  • In: Encyclopedia of Health Communication
  • Edited by: Teresa L. Thompson
  • Subject:Public Health Education & Health Promotion, Health Psychology, Health Communication

Since the early stages of the global HIV/AIDS epidemic, children have borne a significant portion of the morbidity and mortality burden. Mother-to-child-transmission (MTCT), also referred to as vertical or perinatal transmission, accounts for the majority of HIV infections in children under the age of 13. The transfer of HIV from mother to child can happen at any time during pregnancy, birth, or breastfeeding, but most often occurs during labor. Although the risk of vertical transmission has been significantly reduced during the last two decades, thousands of children born to women living with HIV are infected each year worldwide. Thus, working to eliminate new perinatal infections and providing quality health services for mothers living with HIV and their children remains an important global health priority.

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