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Pregnant and Postpartum Women

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends HIV screening for all pregnant women. If a woman is treated for HIV and takes the appropriate medication during pregnancy, labor, and delivery, and provides the medication to her baby for 4 to 6 weeks post-delivery, the risk of transmission of HIV to the baby falls to 1% or less. After delivery, HIV transmission from mother to baby can be prevented by avoiding breastfeeding. Because an HIV-positive pregnant woman is able to pass the virus to her child during pregnancy, childbirth, and through breastfeeding, programs targeting this population focus on both the health of the mother and baby in preventing mother-to-child transmission.

Resources to Learn More

HIV and Pregnant Women, Infants, and Children
Offers statistics on pregnant women and children with HIV. Discusses the challenges to prevention efforts and what CDC is doing to support HIV prevention. Includes links to resources focused on women and children and HIV prevention, and offers a locator tool for finding HIV prevention services.
Organization(s): Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Preventing Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV
Provides information and resources about the transmission of HIV from a pregnant woman to her baby. Features steps to reduce risk of transmission to protect the health of mothers and babies, and includes information about the importance of HIV testing for all women both before and during pregnancy.
Organization(s):, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

Pregnancy and HIV
Presents recommendations and practices for pregnant women living with HIV, or who are at risk of HIV infection, to eliminate the risk factors for their unborn children and improve the health of mothers.
Organization(s): Office on Women's Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Service

Guide for HIV/AIDS in Clinical Care, Section 4 HIV Treatment – Reducing Perinatal HIV Transmission
An overview on the prevention of perinatal HIV transmission from mother to baby offering recommendations for reducing risk of transmission during pregnancy. Describes factors influencing perinatal HIV transmission and discusses prevention strategies on the use of antiretroviral medications, importance of screening, guidance on HIV education and counseling of pregnant women, and follow-up care for HIV-infected women and their exposed babies.
Author(s): Burr, C.K.Organization(s): AIDS Education & Training Center Program
Date: 4/2014