Rates of HIV transmission from women to their babies in the UK are low.
In 2016, less than 1% of new HIV diagnoses in the UK (41 cases) were cases of mother-to-child transmission, which were almost exclusively in cases where the child was born abroad (all but five).
The number of mother-to-child transmissions remains low in the UK thanks to:
- antenatal screening for HIV, and in the case where an expectant mother is diagnosed with HIV
- anti-retroviral treatment to block transmission
- avoiding breastfeeding
- selective caesarean delivery.
In 2015, 720,590 pregnant women were screened for HIV, an uptake of 98%. Of those pregnant women screened, 1,082 tested positive.
Thanks to all these methods, the chances of a woman with HIV having a baby that is HIV negative have increased dramatically. They now stand at over 99% in general and 99.9% for women on successful antiretroviral treatment with an undetectable viral load.
Between 2006 and 2015, in the UK, the transmission rate for the approximately 12,000 children born to women living with HIV infection was under 1%.