Current HIV/AIDS Reports

, Volume 12, Issue 2, pp 246–255 | Cite as

Implementation Research for the Prevention of Mother-to-Child HIV Transmission in Sub-Saharan Africa: Existing Evidence, Current Gaps, and New Opportunities

  • Sanjana Bhardwaj
  • Bryan Carter
  • Gregory A. Aarons
  • Benjamin H. ChiEmail author
The Global Epidemic (SH Vermund, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on The Global Epidemic


Tremendous gains have been made in the prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission (PMTCT) in sub-Saharan Africa. Ambitious goals for the “virtual elimination” of pediatric HIV appear increasingly feasible, driven by new scientific advances, forward-thinking health policy, and substantial donor investment. To fulfill this promise, however, rapid and effective implementation of evidence-based practices must be brought to scale across a diversity of settings. The discipline of implementation research can facilitate this translation from policy into practice; however, to date, its core principles and frameworks have been inconsistently applied in the field. We reviewed the recent developments in implementation research across each of the four “prongs” of a comprehensive PMTCT approach. While significant progress continues to be made, a greater emphasis on context, fidelity, and scalability—in the design and dissemination of study results—would greatly enhance current efforts and provide the necessary foundation for future evidence-based programs.


HIV Implementation research Prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission PMTCT Africa 



This work was funded in part by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (R01 HD075131). Trainee support was provided by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation Clinical Research Mentorship Program.

Compliance with Ethics Guidelines

Conflict of Interest

Sanjana Bhardwaj, Bryan Carter, Gregory A. Aarons, and Benjamin H. Chi declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sanjana Bhardwaj
    • 1
  • Bryan Carter
    • 2
  • Gregory A. Aarons
    • 3
  • Benjamin H. Chi
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.UNICEFPretoriaSouth Africa
  2. 2.Icahn School of Medicine at Mount SinaiNew YorkUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of California - San DiegoLa JollaUSA
  4. 4.Department of Obstetrics and GynecologyUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA

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