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Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV


Global Health eLearning Center


Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV




A range of different approaches have been applied to health care for the purpose of improving health care from developing standards and guidelines, supervision, training, process improvement, audit and feedback to large-scale collaborative improvement and accreditation.

Transmission of HIV from mothers to children is the primary cause of HIV infection in children. Despite many positive developments and interventions for the prevention of mother-to-child during pregnancy, labour, birth and breastfeeding, significant challenges remain. This course presents a comprehensive overview of the key interventions involved in the programming for prevention of MTCT, by providing guidance on the management problems related to prevention of mother-to-child transmission This course has been adapted from Global Health eLearning (GHeL) Center under a Creative Commons License and modified according to prevailing trends in the Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICTs).

After completion of this course, students will be able to understand:

  • Key aspects related to the global HIV epidemic and MTCT;
  • The four-pronged approach to a comprehensive strategy for PMTCT;
  • The modes, timing, and risk factors associated with MTCT;
  • The key services associated with HIV prevention and prevention of unintended pregnancies in women living with HIV;
  • The cascade of MTCT interventions through the continuum of care (antenatal, intrapartum, postpartum and infant care services; and
  • The major PMTCT programming considerations.

Getting Started
This course begins with an overview of HIV and how the epidemic has progressed over time. It then discusses HIV prevention of HIV and dealing with unintended pregnancies in women are sufferers. Next it covers the various interventions for the prevention of MTCT, including antenatal, intrapartum and postpartum. Finally, it takes a focus on Pacific island countries by explaining MTCT in this specific context. Each module is followed by a quiz.
Module - 1: Background

As the name indicates, module 1 provides the background related to the global HIV epidemic and the progress achieved for the HIV treatment in general, as well as in the context of pediatric HIV treatment. The module also discusses the modes, timing, and risk factors related to the mother-to-child transmission of HIV, the four-element strategy for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT), the PMTCT cascade of services, global PMTCT progress and global commitments.

Module - 2: Primary HIV Prevention

This section discusses entry points of HIV, the challenges and considerations in prevention, interacting risk and vulnerability factors, HIV risk factors in young women, high-impact interventions and HIV prevention for pregnant and breastfeeding women.

Module - 3: Prevention of Unintended Pregnancies

This part begins with an overview of what unintended pregnancies are, followed by the benefits of their prevention, the challenges and considerations, the essential package of services, family planning (FP) needs for women living with HIV, healthy timing and spacing of the pregnancies, counselling for safer conception, methods of choice, the contraceptive methods, and the role of male partners.

Module - 4: PMTCT Antenatal Interventions

Module 4 explains topics such as HIV testing and counselling, the initiation of antiretroviral (ART) therapy, ART regimens, viral load monitoring, antenatal care, toxicity monitoring, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and related drugs and infections.

Module - 5: PMTCT Intrapartum Interventions

This section covers safe delivery, modes of delivery, HIV testing and counselling in the intrapartum stage, the initiation of ART, and human rights considerations.

Module - 6: PMTCT Postpartum Interventions

This module encompasses infant ARV prophylaxis, high-risk infants, infant co-trimoxazole prophylaxis, infant feeding, maternal HIV retesting, early infant diagnosis, HIV serological testing for infants and children, the initiation of infant ART, infant ART regimens and postpartum contraception.

Module - 7: PMTCT Programming Considerations

Module 7 covers monitoring and evaluation for PMTCT programmes, early and decentralised HIV testing and diagnosis and maternal retention and loss to follow-up. It also explains the integration of maternal, neonatal, and child health services and the strengthening of men’s involvement in PMTCT services.

Module - 8: Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV Infection in Pacific Countries
This module looks specifically at the prevention of MTCT in the Pacific island countries. It takes various examples as case studies so as to provide specific recommendations based on the region.
Final Assessment Quiz

This final exam is mandatory in order to achieve the certificate.

Pacific Health Security

POLHN has dedicated public health professionals in its DPS research team who have decade long experiences in Health Security and Emergencies, NCDs and Health Through the Life course, and Health System
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Course Questions & Answers

Can't find the answers you're looking for? Get in touch with POLHN! Contact us here and we will respond to your enquiry as soon as possible.
Yes, this course has recommended and additional readings. These can all be easily accessed on Moodle.
There is no time limit for completing this course. POLHN recommends spending about 4 hours per week over the period of 6 weeks.
Once you enrol yourself into this course on Moodle you will have access to all the lectures and assignments.
Once you successfully complete your course by completing all the modules and passing all the assessment, your certificate will be automatically generated and sent to your email. You can also access all your certificates through our online certificate verification system here: If you are having any problems accessing your certificate, simply email us at and we will help you.

Study Material

This self-paced course has been designed in a manner that enhances understanding of the core concepts and provides easy to access learning materials. The course uses a range of study material such as pre-recorded videos, lecture slides, quizzes and assignments, and is developed by a team of dedicated health education experts.

Getting Help

Connect with other students through the discussion forum, where you can easily discuss the course or debate the ideas. Need more help? Your instructors are also available online to answer any questions you might have.

Extend Your Career with a Verified Certificate

POLHN self-paced courses are recognised by Pacific Ministries of Health. Once you have successfully completed the course, you will receive an official certificate. This certificate can be used for credit to gain CPD points.

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This course presents an overview of the interventions involved in the programming for prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV by providing guidance on the management problems related to the topic.

Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV

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