Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV
Since our inception in 1988, the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF) has been a global leader in the fight to eliminate pediatric AIDS, through advocacy, research, and program implementation. As one of the largest global supporters of prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission (PMTCT) services, EGPAF has provided over 21 million women with services to prevent transmission of HIV to their babies.
EGPAF remains a leading advocate for PMTCT services at a global level and within the countries we support. We serve on the Executive Committee of the Interagency Task Team on the prevention and treatment of HIV infection in pregnant women, mothers and children (IATT), Global Steering Group for the Global Plan Towards the Elimination of New HIV Infections Among Children By 2015 and Keeping Their Mothers Alive, and play a leading role in national technical working groups to advocate for expanded country-wide access to quality PMTCT services.
In the countries we support, EGPAF works directly with ministries of health, other government agencies, and local partners to offer a comprehensive package of services to women, children, and their families. Much of our work occurs on-the-ground, at region and district health offices and health facilities where we provide health worker and program manages with skills building opportunities, supportive supervision, mentorship, and coaching to ensure provision of high-quality, evidence-based PMTCT services. We utilize health systems strengthening and service integration approaches to improve service quality and access to and uptake of PMTCT services. EGPAF is also actively engaged with communities we serve and works to increase demand and uptake of PMTCT services, while addressing harmful social norms that prevent women from accessing health services.
EGPAF has been at the forefront of developing and rolling out new PMTCT policies and guidelines. The 2013-14 rapid scale up of the World Health Organization’s PMTCT guidelines, recommending lifelong antiretroviral treatment (ART) to all HIV-positive pregnant and lactating women (Option B+), has had significant impacts. Our programs have evolved to include HIV treatment services as an integral part of maternal and child health services, both in antenatal care and maternity settings, and in some places, in postnatal settings. This has greatly improved access to lifesaving therapy and led to reduced morbidity and mortality among HIV-positive women, as well as reduced rates of HIV transmission to infants to incredibly low levels. The move to Option B+ has brought opportunities to improve care for mother-baby pairs and it has brought us steps closer to ending pediatric AIDS.
To achieve a generation free of HIV, however EGPAF has realized that a great emphasis will have to be placed on not only ensuring the accessibility of PMTCT services but on ensuring women remain on treatment for life. A large proportion of women stop ART in the first three months of treatment, due to lack of information and/or support mechanisms. EGPAF has thus been increasingly invested in initiatives to increase education and awareness of Option B+, create community dialogue on HIV care and treatment and PMTCT, counteract stigma, strengthen male involvement in PMTCT, increase disclosure of HIV status to family and loved ones and implement peer support groups.
EGPAF continues to lead efforts across its 14 countries of program implementation to strengthen PMTCT.
As one of the first organizations to advocate and fundraise for research focused on PMTCT, EGPAF has contributed to some of the most important breakthroughs in preventing mother-to-child HIV transmission. Today, our PMTCT research focuses on conducting operations research to improve the effectiveness of PMTCT service delivery models and to build the evidence-base for effective PMTCT interventions.
To learn more about prevention of mother-to-child transmission and EGPAF’s impact, click here. (French, Portuguese)