In 2016, an estimated 2.1 million pregnant women were living with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa, more than in any other region of the world. Yet there is good news as well. For example, 73 per cent of pregnant and breastfeeding women living with HIV received antiretroviral drugs to prevent them from transmitting the virus to their babies, and for their own health.

Also, there was a 47 per cent decrease in the number of children newly infected with HIV worldwide — from 300,000 in 2010 to 160,000 in 2016. This was due in part to the expansion of treatment for pregnant and breastfeeding women living with HIV.

Despite the tremendous progress, inequities persist and impede global efforts to eliminate new HIV infections in children. The number of children acquiring HIV during the breastfeeding period has declined to 9 percent in 2015, but this decline is slow due to such factors as women's poor retention in postnatal care and insufficient adherence to treatment.