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Rev Obstet Gynecol. 2010 Spring;3(2):66-71.

HIV and Pregnancy in Resource-Poor Settings.


There are 33.4 million people living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. Globally, HIV/AIDS is the leading cause of death among women of reproductive age. In the United States and other developed countries, aggressive efforts to treat HIV-positive pregnant women with highly active antiretroviral therapy have decreased the maternal-to-child transmission (MTCT) from over 20% to less than 2%. However, in resource-poor settings, access to antiretroviral therapy (ART) is not readily available, and perinatal transmission rates remain as high as 45%. Women are at greater risk of heterosexual transmission of HIV, which is compounded by lack of condom use, imbalance of social power, and the high fertility rate. Prevention programs are needed to empower and educate women and engender community awareness for condom use. Prenatal screening and treatment, intrapartum ART, and postpartum prophylaxis must be made available to all women and children to prevent MTCT.


AIDS; Antiretroviral therapy; Human immunodeficiency virus; Perinatal transmission; Pregnancy

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