Over 95% of HIV-infected pediatric cases are a result of vertical transmission. The pathophysiology of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) disease state in the pediatric population is similar to adults. However, differences occur in the clinical presentation, mode of infection, and therapeutic options. The pediatric and neonatal populations have a weaker immune system than adults, therefore, if infected with HIV, they are at a greater risk of opportunistic infections. As such, the delay of treatment may result in a rapid progression of the disease.
One of the greatest advancements in medicine has been the prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 (HIV). The rate of transmission of HIV to neonates has been reduced to less than 1% with the implementation of appropriate strategies and careful planning. The increase in comprehensive serologic screening and the treatment of HIV-infected pregnant females have resulted in the reduction of vertical transmission. There are evidence-based prevention modalities that can be utilized at different stages of pregnancy and postpartum to improve outcomes. Antiretroviral therapies (ART) can be prescribed during gestation, antepartum during vaginal or elective cesarean delivery, postnatally to the neonate, and/or when breastfeeding.
Abbas M, Bakhtyar A, Bazzi R. Neonatal HIV. 2021 Dec 28. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan–. PMID: 33351437.