How can the risk of mother-to-child transmission be reduced?

  1. If possible, all women should be screened for HIV infection early in pregnancy so that HIV-exposed infants can be identified before delivery. Antiretroviral prophylaxis should be offered to all HIV-infected mothers during pregnancy and delivery, and to the newborn infant to reduce the risk of mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
  2. The management of pregnancy, labour and delivery should be altered to reduce the risk of exposing the fetus and infant to HIV. Avoid early rupture of the membranes, instrument delivery and episiotomy if possible. An elective caesarean section is an option, especially in communities that can afford it.
  3. Women should avoid becoming infected with HIV during pregnancy and breastfeeding by practising safe sex.
  4. The choice of infant feeding should be discussed with the mother.

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