The elimination of HIV
in newborns by 2015 is an important milestone that contributes to the Millennium Development Goal to halt the spread of HIV. Globally, the increasing coverage of services to prevent mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) is contributing to a decline in new HIV infections among children.The number of children newly infected with HIV in 2008 was roughly 18% lower than 2001. In Asia Pacific, PMTCT coverage has increased steadily, albeit slowly, from 9% in 2004 to 32% in 2009, with Thailand surpassing 90% while in other countries, it ranges from 3% in Nepal to 55% in Myanmar. Region-wide, the impact of PMTCT services on preventing children from acquiring HIV is not yet clearly determined. In Asia-Pacific, PMTCT services are being scaled up but the monitoring of outcomes: whether newborns are free of HIV or require initiation of antiretroviral treatment, is not yet systematic or comprehensive. Few countries have reported program-wide results to account for the number of children testing
HIV negative or positive after PMTCT interventions, or documented the efficacy of ARV
regimens in reducing transmission risk
in newborns during mothers’ pregnancy
and delivery. This results in largely unknown outcomes after years of gearing up the health system
to prevent mother-to-child transmission. Operationally, the lack of systematic recording and data collection at facilities underpin a high rate of losses of mothers and newborns at various points of the referral chain.