Countries in Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) have made remarkable progress in scaling up treatment for pregnant women living with HIV and reducing new infections among children. Estimates from the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS indicate that 93 per cent of pregnant women living with HIV in ESA received antiretroviral medicines in 2017. Thanks to an accelerated response over the years in this region, the number of children who acquired HIV has been reduced by more than 1.2 million since 2009. This represents 80 per cent of the global reduction in new infections among children during that period.
However, one of the key challenges remaining to eliminating mother-to-child transmission of HIV is the retention of mothers and infants in care through the end of breastfeeding. Mothers and their infants in this region continue to face significant challenges as they navigate the health care system over extended periods of time.
This important review examines the bottlenecks to retention in care of mother-infant pairs and makes recommendations based on evidence-based practices to reduce those barriers.