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Like Mother, Like Daughter: Mother-to-child Transmission of HIV/AIDS

Amanda Stevenson-Grund - Friday, June 19, 2015

Without any intervention, between 15 per cent and 45 per cent of babies born to HIV-positive mothers will become infected. And half of all infants infected with HIV will die before their second birthday if they do not receive treatment.
Unicef, HIV/AIDS. Elimination of Mother-to-child Transmission of HIV (EMTCT). 2015

A map shows the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in Africa 

Expecting parents can assume they’ll pass certain genetic traits to their child, such as the father’s smile or the mother’s eyes. If a pregnant woman has HIV/AIDS and no access to treatment, it is likely that the child will inherit not only the harmless genetic traits, but also the deadly virus. Mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS is a serious and common problem. Antiretroviral therapy reduces the rate of perinatal HIV/AIDS.

HIV/AIDS can be transmitted from a mother to her child during birth, through the mother’s blood, and after birth, through the mother’s breast milk. It can pass through the placenta during pregnancy. This type of HIV/AIDS transmission causes 90% of pediatric HIV, according to the HIV/AIDS charity Avert.org.

Antiretroviral therapy lowers the chance a child will get HIV/AIDS from an HIV-positive mother. According to the World Health Organization, if there is no treatment, there is a 15%-45% chance a woman with HIV/AIDS will pass it on to her child, but if the woman receives antiretroviral therapy, that chance lowers to less than 5%.

Although mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS is a serious and common problem, antiretroviral therapy can lower the transmission rate. Orbis Biosciences uses its Precision Particle FabricationTM technology to create taste-masked, antiretroviral medication. As medications like ours become more available, expecting parents will be able to focus on passing on only their love.

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