Vertical Transmission

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A term used to describe the transmission of HIV from an HIV-positive mother to her baby during pregnancy or at the time of birth. HIV antiretroviral treatment taken by the HIV-positive mother during pregnancy lowers to the risk of HIV transmission to her child to about 1%. Therefore HIV antiretroviral treatment is considered to be highly protective in preventing HIV transmission to the unborn child and during birth, due to the reduction in the HIV-positive mother’s viral load to undetectable levels, which substantially lowers the risk of transmission to her child.