Our Priorities

The transmission of HIV from mother-to-child during pregnancy and early infancy can now be prevented. And, with the right treatment, HIV-positive children can now live a normal life. Yet, in China, universal coverage of necessary HIV preventive and paediatric services remains a challenge.

Approximately one third of all babies born to HIV-positive mothers will be positive if preventive measures are not taken and without treatment, about half of all HIV-positive babies will die before the age of two. Critical services are increasingly available; however, reaching full coverage remains a challenge.

Women, especially those living in remote rural communities, are less likely to access adequate HIV prevention and treatment measures during pregnancy and childbirth. These women may learn their HIV status only after their spouse or child has died or when they themselves become ill.

Supporting prevention  


UNICEF works closely with local partners in China to empower women and service providers to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV.

A prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) pilot program was launched with UNICEF support in 2001. The pilot's good practices are being adopted into national programmes to prevent mother to child transmission of HIV, Hepatitis B and Syphilis.

  • Health workers receive training and guidance to ensure an HIV sensitive approach in counselling, HIV testing and administration of anti-retroviral drugs.
  • Local partnerships help vulnerable women and families to access social services and establish support-groups. These groups create opportunities for women to help each other and share information about family planning, counselling, treatment and care.
  • Effective advocacy and communications materials to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS, PMTCT services and treatment of children have been developed.
  • National guidelines to integrate PMTCT measures into relevant health and social services have been developed with various partners.

Making a difference

UNICEF aims to support China's efforts to provide PMTCT services to over 90% of HIV positive women by 2015.

The PMTCT pilot program is now being replicated on a national scale, steadily increasing the number of women who know their status, protect themselves and their families from becoming infected and access adequate treatment and care.

UNICEF assisted women-support-groups have established a model of community support for women affected by HIV.

The project has shown that awareness raising materials can sharply reduce stigma and discrimination towards people living with the virus.

PMTCT is now fully integrated in the National Mother and Child Health Care programme and inclusion in implementation guidelines is on-going.

You can help UNICEF to support the achievement of zero HIV positive newborns, in China, by 2015. Take action by supporting access to health services for all women, especially during pregnancy. Or find out how you can support UNICEF today.

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