Date of Graduation

Fall 8-27-2014

Document Access

Project/Capstone - Global access

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


School of Nursing and Health Professions

First Advisor

Dr. Courtney Keeler

Second Advisor

Kia James


The transmission of HIV infection from an HIV-positive mother to her child during labor, pregnancy, breastfeeding or delivery is termed as mother-to-child HIV transmission (WHO, 2013 report on HIV). A range of 15-45% infection transmissions are possible when no intervention strategies are put into place. Globally, goals and initiatives have been set to combat this issue as well as speeding up the interventions and achieve possible transmission rates of levels less than 5% and total elimination of new infant HIV infections by 2015 (WHO, 2013 report on HIV). In 2011, 57% of pregnant women living with HIV in low and middle-income countries received effective antiretroviral drugs for prevention of mother to child transmission (PMTCT), a substantial increase from 48% in 2010 (UNAIDS, 2011 data).

Despite the availability of many interventions and massive investments to prevent MTCT, this pandemic situation still lingers in Africa. An estimated 390,000 children globally acquired HIV from their mothers in 2010 with over 90% of these new infections occurring in sub-Saharan Africa (UNICEF, 2011 Global HIV/AIDS Response report). This paper summarizes the current observation made after internship with the Office for Policy in Clinical Research Operations that falls under the Division of AIDS (DAIDS) with the National Institute of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, MD.

The paper highlights the importance of the current recommendations used for the prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission in sub-Saharan Africa. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommendation for the prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission in Africa is the main focus of this report. The report also reflects on the core competencies of the masters in public health program learnt with the University of San Francisco and its association with the project. Different learning objectives of the project were also addressed in this report. Lastly, the overall quality of the project and the need of such projects for public health were addressed in the report.