Jonnalagadda, S., Yuengling, K., Abrams, E., Stupp, P., Voetsch, A., Patel, M., Minisi, Z., Eliya, M., Hamunime, N., Rwebembera, A., Kirungi, W., Mulenga, L., Mushavi, A., Ryan, C., Ts’oeu, M., Kim, E., Dziuban, E. J., Hageman, K., Galbraith, J., Mweebo, K., … Saito, S. (2020).
MMWR. Morbidity and mortality weekly report, 69(19), 582–586. https://doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6919a3
Although mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is preventable through antiretroviral treatment (ART) during pregnancy and postpartum, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) estimates that 160,000 new HIV infections occurred among children in 2018 (1). Child survival and HIV-free survival rates* are standard measures of progress toward eliminating MTCT† (2). Nationally representative Population-based HIV Impact Assessment (PHIA)§ survey data, pooled from eight sub-Saharan African countries¶ were used to calculate survival probability among children aged ≤3 years by maternal HIV status during pregnancy and HIV-free survival probability among children aged ≤3 years born to women with HIV infection, stratified by maternal ART** status during pregnancy. Survival probability was significantly lower among children born to women with HIV infection (94.7%) than among those born to women without HIV infection (97.6%). HIV-free survival probability of children born to women with HIV infection differed significantly by the timing of initiation of maternal ART: 93.0% among children whose mothers received ART before pregnancy, 87.8% among those whose mothers initiated ART during pregnancy, and 53.4% among children whose mothers did not receive ART during pregnancy. Focusing on prevention of HIV acquisition and, among women of reproductive age with HIV infection, on early diagnosis of HIV infection and ART initiation when applicable, especially before pregnancy, can improve child survival and HIV-free survival.