HIV baby numbers at an all time low

Sarah Wiedersehn

The number of Australian babies born with HIV transmitted through their mother has dropped to an all time low.

A research review published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology found no cases of mother-to-child transmission ( MTCT ) of human immunodeficiency virus ( HIV) since 2013, despite an increase in HIV positive pregnancies.

Researchers at James Cook University say the achievement should be commended but warn against complacency if virtual elimination of MTCT is to be achieved.

They say migrant women in Australia are still at higher risk of HIV exposure during pregnancy and it's important to maintain efforts to prevent them from passing the virus on to their unborn child.

"This discussion acknowledges that 'elimination' of MTCT is not a single event but an ongoing process," the authors wrote.

"Continual, consistent and accurate data about HIV-exposed pregnancies is vital to monitor sustained and improved efforts toward this goal."