U.S. and World Leaders Commit to Elimination of Mother-to-Child HIV Transmission

U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Ambassador Eric Goosby pledged an additional $75 million for preventing mother-to-child transmission during the 2011 High Level Meeting on AIDS. World leaders gathered in New York at the June 8-10 event committed to a global action plan that will make significant strides towards eliminating new HIV infections among children by 2015 and keeping HIV infected mothers alive.

Nearly every minute, a baby is born with HIV. A child dies of AIDS every two minutes and one of every five maternal deaths in Africa is HIV-related. Neither technical or scientific barriers stand in the way of eliminating pediatric AIDS worldwide. Pediatric HIV was virtually eliminated, with fewer than 150 new cases per year, in the United States and Europe more than a decade ago.

The world has made incredible progress in closing the gap in developing countries thanks in great part to the commitment of the American people. In fiscal year 2010, the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) programs focused on preventing mother-to-child-transmission directly supported services that led to more than 114,000 children estimated to have been born free of HIV.

The key elements of the global action plan include:

  • All women, especially pregnant women, have access to quality life-saving HIV prevention and treatment services– for themselves and their children.
  • The rights of women living with HIV are respected and that women, their families and communities are empowered to fully engage in ensuring their own health– especially the health of their children.
  • Adequate resources– human and financial– are available from both national and international sources in a timely and predictable manner while acknowledging that success is a shared responsibility.
  • HIV, maternal health, newborn and child health, and family planning programs work together, deliver quality results and lead to improved health outcomes.
  • Communities, in particular women living with HIV, are enabled and empowered to support women and their families to access the HIV prevention, treatment and care that they need.
  • National and global leaders act in concert to support country driven efforts and are held accountable for delivering results.

The global action plan includes a detailed timetable for action at community, national, regional and global levels to ensure rapid progress towards elimination of new HIV infections in children by 2015 and keeping HIV positive mothers alive.

In addition to this week’s U.S. contribution for the prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation pledged $40 million, Johnson & Jonson added $15 million, and Chevron committed $20 million.

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Greg Jeu

Greg Jeu is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of OutSmart Magazine.

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