Implementation Research for the Prevention of Mother-to-Child HIV Transmission in Sub-Saharan Africa: Existing Evidence, Current Gaps, and New Opportunities

Curr HIV/AIDS Rep. 2015 Jun;12(2):246-55. doi: 10.1007/s11904-015-0260-1.


Tremendous gains have been made in the prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission (PMTCT) in sub-Saharan Africa. Ambitious goals for the "virtual elimination" of pediatric HIV appear increasingly feasible, driven by new scientific advances, forward-thinking health policy, and substantial donor investment. To fulfill this promise, however, rapid and effective implementation of evidence-based practices must be brought to scale across a diversity of settings. The discipline of implementation research can facilitate this translation from policy into practice; however, to date, its core principles and frameworks have been inconsistently applied in the field. We reviewed the recent developments in implementation research across each of the four "prongs" of a comprehensive PMTCT approach. While significant progress continues to be made, a greater emphasis on context, fidelity, and scalability-in the design and dissemination of study results-would greatly enhance current efforts and provide the necessary foundation for future evidence-based programs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Africa South of the Sahara / epidemiology
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control
  • HIV Infections / transmission*
  • Health Plan Implementation / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Infectious Disease Transmission, Vertical / prevention & control*
  • Pregnancy