Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV
The goal of Power of Love's Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV (PMTCT) program is to ensure zero new HIV infections in children born to HIV+ moms. We believe that with proper education and intervention, 100% of babies born to HIV+ moms can be HIV free. Read more
What is PMTCT: The transmission of HIV from a HIV-positive mother to her child during pregnancy, labor, delivery or breastfeeding is called mother-to-child transmission. In the absence of any intervention, transmission rates range from 15% to 45%. This rate can be reduced to below 5% with effective interventions during the periods of pregnancy, labor, delivery and breastfeeding. These interventions primarily involve antiretroviral treatment for the mother and a short course of antiretroviral drugs for the baby. They also include measures to prevent HIV acquisition in the pregnant woman and appropriate breastfeeding practices.
What are the steps in PMTCT intervention?
- Educate HIV+ pregnant women about HIV and the importance of taking medications to prevent transmission of HIV to the child,
- Support HIV positive women with education and psycho-social counseling, and
- Provide the new mom, continued education on how to keep the new born child HIV free.
Over the last seven years from 2011-2018, 100% of children born to HIV+ moms enrolled in our PMTCT program were HIV free. Since inception of this program, 37 out of 38 children were born HIV free even though their moms and older siblings are HIV+. In addition, as the women gain better knowledge of HIV prevention and care, they encourage others to go in for testing for HIV which is the first step toward prevention and spread of HIV. Read more for stories of children born HIV free.
We maintain a record of all families of children enrolled in our pediatric HIV care program. If the primary caregiver of a child enrolled in our pediatric HIV care program becomes pregnant, she is automatically enrolled in our PMTCT program. From then on, the following steps are to maximize chances of the child being born HIV negative:
- The Project Nurse counsels the pregnant women on the importance of preventing the unborn child from contracting HIV.
- The expecting mom is referred to the antenatal clinic for further counseling and care. If necessary, members of our staff accompany the family.
- From the second trimester up until they give birth, the women receive regular home visits from our nurse and healthcare workers. Trained healthcare workers advise the women on the importance of maintaining their antiretroviral (ARV) regimen and monitor their adherence to it. As the expected date of delivery approaches, monitoring is intensified.
- Once the baby is born, we encourage the mom to have the baby tested and follow the prophylaxis medication that the baby may need. We ensure that the infant is given the necessary medication and is tested for HIV two times. If the baby is HIV free, the mom is advised on how to maintain the negative status of the child. If the baby tests positive, he/she is automatically enrolled in our pediatric HIV care program.
In 2018, women enrolled in our PMTCT program, are provided with counselling, regular home visits, and monitored for adherance to medication. We are confident that these women will deliver HIV free babies. Our goal continues to be zero HIV infections in children born to HIV+ women.