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close this bookHIV and Infant Feeding - Review of HIV Transmission Through Breastfeeding Jointly Issued by UNICEF, UNAIDS and WHO Guidelines - Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission (UNAIDS, 1998, 26 p.)
close this folderMother-to-child transmission
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View the documentHIV infection in women
View the documentRates of mother-to-child transmission


Mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of HIV, which can occur during pregnancy, delivery or breastfeeding, is responsible for more than 90% of HIV infection in children worldwide (UNAIDS/WHO, 1998). The present review focuses on HIV-1. Both HIV type 1 (HIV-1) and HIV type 2 (HIV-2) can be transmitted from mother to child, but HIV-2 is transmitted much less frequently, as it is less pathogenic than HIV-1 (Adjorlolo-Johnson et al., 1994; Andreasson et al., 1993; Morgan et al., 1990).

The remaining 10% of paediatric infections are attributed to transfusion with contaminated blood and blood products, use of contaminated medical equipment, other practices that cut or pierce the skin, or sexual contact (MAP, 1998; UNAIDS/WHO, 1998; Tovo et al., 1988).