Key points from this briefing:
Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) programmes offer an excellent opportunity to give HIV-positive pregnant women access to long-term HIV care and treatment for their own health.
Referral systems are failing many HIV-positive women, and the opportunity for them to receive HIV treatment for their own health and survival is being missed far too often.
These missed opportunities can be reduced through:
Ensuring the health of the woman becomes part of the responsibility of PMTCT services through effective linkages between maternal and child health and HIV treatment services, rather than only focusing on the health of her infant.
Simplifying patient pathways to HIV treatment
Improved communication between pregnant women diagnosed with HIV and health workers, including additional and better counselling concerning the importance of on-going care
Improved monitoring of steps in care for women identified as HIV-positive in PMTCT programmes, through records systems that are designed to allow women to be tracked wherever they attend within the health facility (antenatal clinic, maternity ward, HIV care and treatment clinic, etc).
Evidence for Action Policy Briefing Issue 09, May 2011, 4 pp.