Epidemiology of HIV Infection in Women and Children: A Global Perspective
Avinash K. Shetty.
The global epidemiology of HIV/AIDS is rapidly evolving in low and middle income countries. Women and
adolescent females in Sub-Saharan Africa are at risk of HIV acquisition due to a myriad of complex biological, behavioral
and structural factors. Primary HIV infection among women primarily drives the pediatric HIV epidemic. Postnatal
transmission of HIV during breastfeeding is a major concern in LMIC, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa where
breastfeeding remains the only feasible, safe and culturally acceptable infant feeding choice. Given the remarkable
discoveries in biomedical interventions to prevent sexual transmission of HIV and MTCT during breastfeeding, there is
now a unique opportunity to rapidly implement combination HIV prevention packages, provide quality prevention of
mother-to-child HIV transmission services, and improve maternal and infant survival. Although rapid scale-up of PMTCT
interventions has occurred in Sub-Saharan Africa in the past five years, significant challenges remain towards reaching the
ambitious goal of virtual elimination of new HIV infections among children on a global scale by 2015 and keeping their
mothers alive. Rapid translation of scientific discoveries into policy and practice in conjunction with strong commitment
from national leadership and global partners is crucial to end the pediatric AIDS and achieve a HIV-free generation.
Keywords: HIV, global, epidemiology, women, children
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