UNAIDS estimates that about 11% of children in Tanzania develop AIDS through mother-to-child transmission.
But the real numbers are much lower than this prediction.
A recent study published in The Lancet HIV found that antiretroviral drugs can almost completely reduce the risk of mother-to-child transmission of HIV, even in low-income, high-prevalence countries like Tanzania.
Researchers recruited more than 13,000 HIV-positive pregnant women at several health centers in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, who had received antiretroviral treatment in obstetrics between 2015-2017.
The researchers tracked recorded data to 18 months postpartum and found that only 159 of the more than 13,000 infants, or about 1.4 percent, were infected with HIV by 1.5 years of age.
That percentage increased to more than twice as high among pregnant women who received treatment late in pregnancy or had advanced HIV infection
The percentage drops to 0.9% for pregnant women who received treatment early in pregnancy.
This means that modern antiviral drugs are extremely efficient at stopping mother-to-child HIV transmission.
The survey, one of the largest published studies on the risk of mother-to-child transmission of HIV in Africa, is still imperfect but already offers hope for the WHO’s goal of eliminating mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
Meanwhile, researchers say early diagnosis and intervention remain highly effective in interrupting mother-to-child transmission of HIV.