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.


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Technical Support Team. Program Development

ICF “International HIV/AIDS Alliance in Ukraine”

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