New HIV infections among children eliminated and their mothers’ health and well-being is sustained.

New HIV infections among children declined by 52% from 2010 to 2020 thanks to stepped-up efforts to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT). Global coverage of ART among pregnant women rose from 17% in 2010 to 85% in 2020. However, coverage has stalled in the past five years and high global coverage masks deep inequities between and within regions, as well as persistent challenges with respect to retention in care. 

ART coverage among pregnant women ranges from 95% in eastern and southern Africa to 25% in the Middle East and North Africa. Persistent challenges include inadequate prioritization of interventions, lack of community support and engagement and insufficient linkage of HIV with other aspects of sexual and reproductive health (SRH) in policy and planning, heath systems and service delivery. ART coverage decreased in South Asia in the past year from 71% to 56%, due to COVID-19.

Adolescent and young mothers experience disproportionate risks of acquiring HIV and those living with HIV risk missing out on services and interventions that are designed primarily for adults. These factors result in unacceptably high numbers of new cases of HIV in children. In 2020, an estimated 150 000 children aged 0–14 years were newly infected with HIV, bringing the total number of children living with HIV to 1.7 million; 86% of new infections in children occurred in sub-Saharan Africa.

In 2021, the Joint Programme continued their work on strengthening of PMTCT through integration in global and national health policies and systems. HIV services delivery to pregnant women and children in humanitarian settings remained a priority, as did access to PMTCT services to pregnant women most at risk of HIV, including women who use drugs and those in prison.

Find more details in the SRA report.

Outputs 2016-2021

2.1Access to and quality of comprehensive eMTCT services improved



Targets and Milestones 2021 Progress
Percentage of countries implementing latest eMTCT guidance

2021: 100%

2019: 95%

2017: 90%

71% [62/87]

Data source: 2021 JPMS country reports.