How the global call for elimination of pediatric HIV can support HIV-positive women to achieve their pregnancy intentions

Corinne I. Mazzeo, Elizabeth H. Flanagan, Emily A. Bobrow, Christian S. Pitter, Richard Marlink

Publication Date: 12/01/2012

The global call to eliminate new pediatric HIV infections requires a comprehensive approach, including consideration of the pregnancy intentions of HIV-positive women. This paper presents a literature review on the interface between pediatric HIV elimination and the pregnancy intentions of HIV-positive women, focusing on the four prongs of prevention of mother-to-child transmission: primary prevention of HIV infection in women; preventing unintended pregnancies in HIV-positive women; preventing transmission of HIV from infected women to their infants; and providing care, support and treatment to HIV-positive women, their children and their families. The paper describes the role of pregnancy intentions in determining appropriate health services for HIV-positive women – including family planning, reproductive and obstetric care, and HIV-related services – and explains how these essential health services are linked to improving maternal health, reducing child mortality and eliminating pediatric HIV. The paper provides context for the recent UNAIDS-led call to eliminate pediatric HIV, which will require a complete, integrated approach to providing family planning, maternal and child health, and HIV-related services for all HIV-affected individuals and families. Ensuring that HIV-positive women have access to high-quality health services to enable them to choose whether and when to have children is an essential component of this approach.