Preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV is a critical piece to ending AIDS.
Worldwide, 85 percent of pregnant women with HIV received antiretroviral treatment to prevent this type of transmission in 2019, a huge scale up from only 44 percent in 2010.
Access to medication and adhering to a treatment regimen can reduce the risk of mothers with HIV transmitting the virus to their babies during pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding.
Connie Mudenda is HIV-positive, an AIDS activist, and living proof of the tremendous power of antiretroviral treatment.
In the 1990s, before testing, treatment, and knowledge of HIV was commonplace, Connie unknowingly contracted HIV and passed the virus on to her three children. All three of her children passed away. In 2005, she received her diagnosis and began accessing medication.
“What kept me going back then was the fact that I was lucky to be alive, considering the fact that so many people needlessly died simply because there were AIDS-fighting programs that did not exist,” Connie says.
For the past 15 years, she’s remained on treatment. Thanks to the power of this lifesaving medicine, in 2012 she gave birth to a baby girl, Lubona — born HIV-free.
Inspired by her daughter and her personal fight, Connie continues her AIDS activism, working with at-risk communities and educating people living with HIV about how to live healthy lives.
“Any HIV-positive mother on medication can have a happy, healthy HIV [positive] life,” she says. “If she adheres to her medication, a woman living with HIV can give birth to an HIV-free baby.”