Antiretroviral Therapy Shown to Be the Most Effective Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission Strategy

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Following the World Health Organization’s 2013 guidelines endorsing antiretroviral therapy for all HIV-infected pregnant women, Ethiopia adopted Option B+ (initiation of triple regimen antiretroviral therapy (ART) for the duration of breastfeeding or for life regardless of a pregnant woman’s CD4 count) as the national standard for prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV in 2012. Prior to initiation of Option B+, pregnant HIV-infected Ethiopian women were provided with Option A, which provided mothers with dual ART prophylaxis beginning at 14 weeks of gestation, or immediate initiation of ART for women with a CD4 count below 350. The Ethiopia Network for HIV/AIDS Treatment, Care, & Support (ENHAT-CS) program, a USAID initiative funded by PEPFAR, examined vertical transmission rates by mothers’ PMTCT regimens in the Tigray region of Ethiopia.