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Elimination of mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of HIV by 2020 is a goal of the World Health Organization (WHO) action plan for the European Region. However, data to monitor progress towards MTCT elimination are not readily available in Germany.


We aimed to estimate the number of pregnant women with HIV and MTCT rates in Germany.


We triangulated retrospectively obtained data from: (i) healthcare reimbursement for HIV screening tests, (ii) a statutory health insurance subsample of prevalent and incident HIV diagnoses among pregnant women, (iii) a mathematical model of the German HIV epidemic with number, region of origin and risk factors for women of childbearing age, and (iv) the statutory anonymous HIV registry on children infected through HIV MTCT.


The number of women aged 15–49 years with HIV increased from ca 6,000 in 1993 to ca 11,000 in 2016. Risk of injecting drug use (IDU) declined from 65% in 1993 to 16% in 2016. The annual proportion of women living with HIV giving live birth increased from a mean of 1.9% during 1993 to 1998 to 4.9% in 2011 to 2015. HIV screening rates during pregnancy increased from ca 50% in 2001 to ca 90% in 2016. The HIV MTCT rate dropped from 6.8% in 2001 to 1.1% in 2016.


The population of women living with HIV in Germany shifted from predominantly IDU-associated infections to predominantly sexually acquired infections, while fertility rates more than doubled. MTCT rates dropped, mainly because of improved detection and management of HIV in pregnancy.


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