Prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a global health focus in most parts of the world, leading to concerns of HIV transmission to their children. The PMTCT program was first piloted in Shangcai County of China in 2001 with the support of United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) (1). Two years later, the program was expanded to eight cities/counties in five Chinese provincial-level administrative divisions (PLADs) with significant HIV epidemics. The World Health Organization (WHO) launched the global initiative to achieve the elimination of mother-to-child transmission (EMTCT) of syphilis in 2007 and integrated interventions of maternal syphilis into the existing elimination of HIV in 2015 (2). The national program on PMTCT of HIV, syphilis, and hepatitis B (HBV) has been available freely in China since 2010 and achieved universal coverage beginning in 2015 (3). With the rapid development of techniques and policies, the WHO launched the dual EMTCT of HIV and syphilis initiative and released global guidance on the criteria and processes for validation of the EMTCT in 2014 (4). With Cuba being the first country to achieve the elimination criteria, 14 countries and territories have been validated by WHO for eliminating both HIV and syphilis at the end of 2019 (5).
The goal of EMTCT programs was to ensure that mother-to-child transmissions (MTCTs) of HIV, syphilis, and/or HBV were controlled and reduced to a low level such that it ceases to be a public health problem. Validation indicators and targets were used to monitor achievement of EMTCT over a defined period. As for EMTCT of HIV, the indicators included impact and process indicators, the former included the HIV MTCT rate, and the latter included HIV testing coverage and antiretroviral therapy (ART) coverage of HIV-positive pregnant women. The year 2021 marked not only the twentieth anniversary for the implementation of PMTCT of HIV by the Chinese government, but also the threshold of making a National EMTCT Action Plan. The purpose of this report was to analyze the key validation indicators of EMTCT of HIV in China from 2011 to 2020 and to provide relevant information for the implementation of EMTCT action in China.
During 2011–2020, the total recorded number of pregnant women receiving antenatal care was 139,751,391; among them, 137,555,431 pregnant women received HIV testing, the total testing rate was 98.4%, and HIV test predelivery rate was 82.8%. The rates of maternal HIV testing during pregnancy (predelivery and at labor) and predelivery increased from 92.9% (8,730,161/9,398,781) and 53.7% (5,050,569/9,398,781) to 99.9% (11,964,026/11,982,321) and 97.5% (11,679,924/11,982,321), respectively (Table 1).
Year No. of pregnant women* HIV test during pregnancy HIV test predelivery† Number Percentage (%) Number Percentage (%) 2011 9,398,781 8,730,161 92.9 5,050,569 53.7 2012 12,077,532 11,641,270 96.4 7,675,833 63.6 2013 13,073,673 12,717,373 97.3 8,986,577 68.7 2014 13,796,766 13,548,485 98.2 10,538,355 76.4 2015 13,982,380 13,792,525 98.6 11,535,100 82.5 2016 18,325,763 18,179,870 99.2 16,058,981 87.6 2017 17,567,063 17,494,598 99.6 15,960,411 90.9 2018 15,132,557 15,091,448 99.7 14,243,662 94.1 2019 14,414,555 14,395,675 99.9 13,942,700 96.7 2020 11,982,321 11,964,026 99.9 11,679,924 97.5 * In 2011, the number of counties that PMTCT covered was 1,156; from 2015, the central finance covered all counties nationwide; and since 2017, with the decreasing of birth rate, the number of pregnant women decreased.
† Predelivery means before the time of labor start.
Table 1. Testing rates of HIV among pregnant women, China, 2011−2020.
The ARV drugs use rates of HIV infected pregnant women and the prophylaxis treatment rates of their newborn infants consistently increased during the study period. From 2011 to 2020, the treatment rate and the prophylaxis rate increase from 74.1% (2,525/3,407) and 85.2% (2,849/3,344) to 97.4% (4,623/4,745) and 99.2% (4,710/4,746), respectively. Along with increasing uptake of comprehensive interventions for infected mothers and their infants, the MTCT rate reduced from 7.4% to 3.6% between 2011 and 2020 (Figure 1).