|Missed Opportunities in Preventing Mother-to-Child HIV Transmission|
The World Health Organization recommends that women seeking treatment to prevent maternal-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV have access to voluntary family planning information and commodities should they choose to prevent another pregnancy. Yet U.S. law does not follow these recommendations.
U.S. government agencies project that if PMTCT included family planning they would be twice as effective at preventing the transmission of HIV from mother to infant. Studies have shown that many women living with HIV in PMTCT clinics did not intend to get pregnant or wish to avoid another pregnancy.
In Uganda, for example, 93 percent of women seeking PMTCT services reported they were experiencing an unintended pregnancy. A similar study in South Africa revealed that 84 percent of the pregnancies in three PMTCT programs in South Africa were unintended. Despite the evidence and the WHO recommendation that women should have access to family planning services in the PMTCT setting, the new law does not support funding for these services.