Indexed on: 13 Jul '12Published on: 13 Jul '12Published in: Journal of acquired immune deficiency syndromes (1999)
In the 30 years of the AIDS pandemic, the devastating effects of HIV on infants and young children have often been overlooked and neglected. However, the ability to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT), or vertical transmission, has been one of the most significant prevention success stories in the global AIDS response. New HIV infections in children have been virtually eliminated in high-income countries and programmatic efforts have shifted to low-income and middle-income countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, home to the vast majority of pediatric AIDS cases.Over the past decade, the dramatic scale-up of PMTCT programs has saved millions of lives and has provided a foundation for HIV prevention and care and treatment programs that are integrated within maternal and child health services. Although some countries in sub-Saharan Africa are now approaching universal PMTCT coverage, global access to PMTCT for HIV-positive pregnant women remains at nearly 50%. Recently, a new global plan has focused efforts and resources to keep HIV-positive mothers healthy and to virtually eliminate new pediatric infections by 2015.What programmatic and technical innovations will be necessary to overcome current service gaps and implementation barriers? How can countries continue the current momentum with sustainable locally-led programs that address the epidemic in women and children? And how can the vital perspectives of communities and people living with HIV help drive these efforts? Successfully addressing these and other issues will be key to ending HIV infections in children and creating an AIDS-free generation within the next decade.