Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV

Annually, more than 700,000 children are infected with HIV. The most common route by far of HIV transmission for newborns and infants is mother-to-child transmission (MTCT). This course presents the basic elements of preventing mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) that expand across the continuum of care - during antenatal, intrapartum, postpartum, and newborn care - and highlights key elements that must be addressed in programs.


After completing this course, the learner will be able to:

  • Identify the scope of the problem of HIV-infected infants who have become infected through transmission from their mothers
  • Explain the modes of transmission from mother to infant
  • Discuss the clinical association between HIV and malaria in the pregnant woman
  • Discuss the role of family planning in reducing MTCT of HIV
  • Describe the elements of HIV counseling and testing of women during antenatal care
  • Define the antenatal care interventions that can help reduce the risk of MTCT of HIV
  • Discuss the intrapartum care interventions that can help prevent the transmission of HIV from mothers to newborns
  • Discuss the postpartum interventions that can help prevent the transmission of HIV from mother to infant
  • Describe the importance of community interventions and approaches in PMTCT of HIV
  • Explain key elements in policy and advocacy for PMTCT
  • Describe elements that are essential in programs that involve PMTCT


The author would like to thank the following individuals who provided support during the development of this course:

  • Jean Anderson, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine/JHPIEGO
  • Matthew Barnhart, USAID
  • Kelly Curran, JHPIEGO
  • Patricia Gomez, ACCESS/JHPIEGO
  • Jim Shelton, USAID