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Getting HIV from Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Breastfeeding ?

What is HIV transmission during pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding?

A pregnant woman looking in the mirror at her belly

When HIV is transmitted from a mother to her child, it's called mother-to-child or perinatal transmission. This can happen during pregnancy, labor, delivery, or breastfeeding.

What we know about Getting HIV from Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Breastfeeding:

Mother-to-child transmission of HIV is the most common way that children get HIV. Studies show that the risk can be reduced if HIV-positive pregnant women and their newborns take medicines used to treat HIV (antiretroviral therapy or ART). + All pregnant women should be tested for HIV so that they can begin treatment if they're HIV-positive. +

If a woman is treated for HIV early in her pregnancy, the risk of transmitting HIV to her baby can be 1% or less. If a woman doesn't receive treatment until she's in labor, the chance of transmitting HIV to her baby is about 13%. If a woman with HIV doesn't get any treatment, the chance of transmitting HIV to her baby is about 20%.

Testing pregnant women for HIV infection and treating those who are infected have led to a big decline in the number of children infected with HIV from their mothers.

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