HIV Challenges

Maternal diagnosis very late in pregnancy is the main challenge. Other challenges among pregnant women and mothers include poor retention in HIV care postpartum, unaddressed mental health and substance abuse problems, lack of family planning and preconception care services, and racial/ethnic disparities.


Women entering prenatal care late or who do not receive prenatal care are less likely to be screened. Providers who test on the basis of perceived risk, and who do not provide repeat HIV testing in elevated HIV incidence areas are less likely to diagnose infection early in pregnancy.

Access To and Availability of Treatment

Mental health and substance abuse problems, no or late HIV testing during pregnancy, and poor retention in HIV care postpartum affect access to and success of HIV care and treatment.


Providers or patients who are unaware of the patient’s HIV status, lack knowledge of the HIV status of partners of pregnant women, and have challenges with reporting and interpreting HIV test results  can delay early diagnosis and access to treatment.

Page last reviewed: August 11, 2022