Fishel, Joy D., Ruilin Ren, Bernard Barrère, and Trevor N. Croft. 2014. Child Survival by HIV Status of the Mother: Evidence from DHS and AIS Surveys. DHS Comparative Reports No. 35. Rockville, Maryland, USA: ICF International.
Mother-to-child transmission of HIV is the predominant cause of HIV infection in children. In the absence of treatment, children infected with HIV experience higher mortality rates than their HIV-negative counterparts. However, rapidly expanding programs for the elimination of mother-to-child transmission hold promise for greatly reducing the number of new pediatric HIV infections and improving the survival of children of HIV-positive women.
This report presents the results of a bivariate analysis of data from 20 surveys in 13 countries conducted under the DHS Program between 2003 and 2012 in order to compare the levels of child mortality among children of HIV-positive and HIV-negative women, and to explore changes over time. Across all surveys in the analysis, children of HIV-positive women generally experience higher mortality rates than children of HIV-negative women. In 17 of 20 surveys studied, children of HIV-positive women have significantly higher under-five mortality rates than children of HIV-negative women. The relative risks range from 1.5 in the 2011 Cameroon DHS to 3.6 in the 2006 Swaziland DHS. The results show little evidence of improvement in the survival of children of HIV-positive women compared with children of HIV-negative women over time.