With no treatment, 25-30% of the infants born to HIV-infected woman will be HIV infected. Infection can take place during pregnancy, delivery or through breast milk. Today, many parts of the world have care and treatment for pregnant woman that lowers this risk to less than 1%.
The best way to reduce transmission of HIV from mother to child is to identify HIV-infected pregnant woman early and begin treatment. Treatment includes the same medications the mother would take for her own health, safe obstetric practices, and forgoing breastfeeding.
If a woman’s HIV status is unknown at delivery, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) supports rapid HIV testing (with results available in less than 30 minutes) of the mother so that interventions can be started before delivery of the infant.