Vertical transmission prevention means prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission.
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) may be transmitted from an HIV-positive mother to her child during pregnancy, labor or breastfeeding. With no prevention measures taken, the risk of a mother transmitting HIV to her child is about 30%. Nevertheless, if all the measures to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission are followed, the risk may be reduced to only 1%.
The risk of mother-to-child HIV transmission increases if the mother:
- Has symptoms of HIV-associated (opportunistic) diseases;
- Has weak immune system (low CD4 count – less than 200);
- Has got high viral load;
- Has early rupture of membranes (more than four hours before the childbirth);
- Has duration of the labor 12 hours or more;
- Has got any genital infections (e.g., sexually transmitted infections, such as Chlamydia infection, gonorrhea, etc.);
- Has preterm delivery;
- Does not take ARV medications during pregnancy or labor;
- Gets infected with HIV during her pregnancy;
- Has co-infection of HIV and hepatitis C virus.
Besides, the risk of mother-to-child HIV transmission increases if the mother uses any mind-altering substances.
Prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV. To reduce the risk of the child getting infected with HIV, the following measures are to be taken:
- Prescribing ARV medications to the mother during her pregnancy and labor, and to the child right after his birth;
- Reasonable labor management (if necessary – planned bloodless Caesar operation);
- Using infant formula instead of breastfeeding.