Perinatal Antiretroviral Exposure and Prevented Mother-to-child HIV Infections in the Era of Antiretroviral Prophylaxis in the United States, 1994-2010

Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2017 Jan;36(1):66-71. doi: 10.1097/INF.0000000000001355.


Objectives: Using published, nationally-representative estimates, we calculated the total number of perinatally HIV-exposed and HIV-infected infants born during 1978-2010, the number of perinatal HIV cases prevented by interventions designed for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT), and the number of infants exposed to antiretroviral (ARV) drugs during the prenatal and intrapartum periods.

Design: We calculated the number of infants exposed to ARV drugs since 1994, and the number of cases of mother-to-child HIV transmission prevented from 1994 to 2010 using published data. We generated confidence limits for our estimates by performing a simulation study.

Methods: Data were obtained from published, nationally-representative estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Model parameters included the annual numbers of HIV-infected pregnant women, the annual numbers of perinatally infected infants, the annual proportions of infants exposed to ARV drugs during the prenatal and intrapartum period and the estimated MTCT rate in the absence of preventive interventions. For the simulation study, model parameters were assigned distributions and we performed 1,000,000 repetitions.

Results: Between 1978 and 2010, an estimated 186,157 [95% confidence interval (CI): 185,312-187,003] HIV-exposed infants and approximately 21,003 (95% CI: 20,179-21,288) HIV-infected infants were born in the United States. Between 1994 and 2010, an estimated 124,342 (95% CI: 123,651-125,034) HIV-exposed infants were born in the US, and approximately 6083 (95% CI: 5931-6236) infants were perinatally infected with HIV. During this same period, about 100,207 (95% CI: 99,374-101,028) infants were prenatally exposed to ARV drugs. As a result of PMTCT interventions, an estimated 21,956 (95% CI: 20,191-23,759) MTCT HIV cases have been prevented in the United States since 1994.

Conclusion: Although continued vigilance is needed to eliminate mother-to-child HIV transmission, PMTCT interventions have prevented nearly 22,000 cases of perinatal HIV transmission in the United States since 1994.

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Retroviral Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Antibiotic Prophylaxis
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy*
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control*
  • HIV Infections / transmission
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infectious Disease Transmission, Vertical / prevention & control*
  • Infectious Disease Transmission, Vertical / statistics & numerical data
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / drug therapy*
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / epidemiology
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / prevention & control
  • Retrospective Studies
  • United States


  • Anti-Retroviral Agents