January 12, 2010
UNAIDS Chief Calls for Elimination of Mother-to-Child HIV Transmission by 2015
UNAIDS executive director Michele Sidibe said new programs must be implemented in Africa to stop mother-to-child HIV transmission entirely by 2015 in order to achieve the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals, Capital News reports. These goals include reducing poverty, lowering child mortality rates, aggressively fighting HIV/AIDS and other epidemics and developing a global development partnership.
“In our continent, we still have 400,000 babies born every year with HIV, and we know if we [make] testing available universally to all our pregnant women, (and) that pregnant women also have access to treatment, we will prevent the transmission,” Sidibe said January 11 following a visit to a Millennium village in western Kenya. The villages are part of a joint United Nations/Earth Institute at Columbia University initiative to fight poverty in rural areas.
In Kenya, 38,000 mother-to-child HIV cases are reported each year, Sidibe said, adding that universal access to full intervention packages—including post-exposure prophylaxis for HIV-positive pregnant mothers and their babies—could reduce that number by 16,000.
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