Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission

Mother-to-child transmission of HIV is the spread of HIV from an HIV-infected woman to her child during pregnancy, childbirth (also called labor and delivery), or breastfeeding (through breast milk). Mother-to-child transmission is the most common way that children become infected with HIV. Pregnant women with HIV receive HIV medicines during pregnancy and childbirth to reduce the risk of mother-to-child transmission of HIV. In some situations, a woman with HIV may have a scheduled cesarean delivery (sometimes called a C-section) to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV during delivery. Babies born to women with HIV receive HIV medicine for 6 weeks after birth. The HIV medicine reduces the risk of infection from any HIV that may have entered a baby’s body during childbirth. Because HIV can be transmitted in breast milk, women with HIV living in the United States should not breastfeed their babies. In the United States, baby formula is a safe and healthy alternative to breast milk.

  • The Use of HIV Medicines During Pregnancy
  • Preventing Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV During Childbirth
  • Preventing Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV After Birth

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