Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 mother-to-child transmission and prevention: Successes and controversies

M. Cavarelli, G. Scarlatti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) estimated that an additional 370000 new human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infections occurred in children in 2009, mainly through mother-to-child transmission (MTCT). Intrapartum transmission contributes to approximately 20-25% of infections, in utero transmission to 5-10% and postnatal transmission to an additional 10-15% of cases. MTCT accounts for only a few hundred infected newborns in those countries in which services are established for voluntary counselling and testing of pregnant women, and a supply of antiretroviral drugs is available throughout pregnancy with recommendations for elective Caesarean section and avoidance of breastfeeding. The single-dose nevirapine regimen has provided the momentum to initiate MTCT programmes in many resource-limited countries; however, regimens using a combination of antiretroviral drugs are needed also to effectively reduce transmission via breastfeeding.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)561-579
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Internal Medicine
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011



  • Child
  • HIV
  • Mother
  • Prevention
  • Transmission

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine

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