News / Health

Campaign to End AIDS in Babies & Children Launched

Former US President Bill Clinton (l) and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon during a panel meeting on HIV/AIDS at United Nations headquarters, June 9, 2011
Former US President Bill Clinton (l) and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon during a panel meeting on HIV/AIDS at United Nations headquarters, June 9, 2011
Margaret Besheer

World leaders and activists gathered at the United Nations this week for a high-level meeting on the international response to HIV and AIDS launched a global plan towards the elimination of new HIV infections among children by 2015.

Around the world, AIDS is the leading cause of death among women of reproductive age. Many do not even know they are infected until they are pregnant. Treatment is crucial then, because when a pregnant woman receives antiretroviral drugs the risk of her child being born infected is reduced to less than five percent. It also means the mother will stay healthy longer to care for her child.

South African Babalwa Mbono is one of these women. She said her joy at learning she was pregnant was overshadowed by her fear when she found out she was infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

“Despair not knowing how you are going to live, how are you going to live enough to raise the child," said Mbono. "And despaired thinking that you are going to infect your innocent child.”

But she was among the lucky because she was assisted by an organization called Mothers2Mothers, which provides care, support and education for HIV-positive mothers.

“I was able to know how to take care of myself and my baby, and I was able to learn how to take my treatment and how to do the tests that are needed, and also I learned how to feed my baby," she said. "And I also learned how to fight stigma associated with HIV.”

With these tools and knowledge, Babalwa’s baby was born HIV-free, and she now mentors other HIV-positive mothers.

But despite such success stories, there are still many pregnant women in need of these and other services. In 2009, some 370,000 babies were born with HIV - almost all of them in low- and middle-income countries, mainly in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Under the new initiative launched Thursday, the goal would be to reduce this number by 90 percent within four years.

The plan aims to do it through expanding access to life-saving HIV prevention and treatment services for mothers and their children; integrating health care services for women; and empowering them to ensure their own health and that of their children.

The United States has been very active on this front and pledged an additional $75 million to the global plan. Speaking at the launch, U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Eric Goosby noted the disparity between pediatric AIDS rates in developed versus developing countries.

“In the United States and Europe, pediatric AIDS is now an artifact of history, yet in many countries nearly one baby is born with HIV every minute, despite us having the know-how to prevent it," said Goosby. "Ensuring that all babies are born HIV-free must be a global priority and not left to a lottery of geography.”

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon echoed this concern, saying mothers everywhere feel the same love for their children and deserve the same options for treatment. He noted that the success in eliminating mother-to-child transmission of HIV in the developed world proves it can be done globally.

You May Like

Republican Majority in Congress Off to Rough Start

Standoff over Homeland Security funding exposes philosophical, tactical problems within party More

Pakistan Blocks Baloch Activist from US Trip

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan slams Islamabad officials for stopping people from leaving country to attend human rights conference More

Video Muslims Long Thrived in North Carolina Before Students Killed

Idyll shattered February 10, when three Muslim university students living in Chapel Hill were gunned down by a neighbor More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Studentsi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
March 05, 2015 9:04 PM
The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Students

The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Fuel Shortages in Nigeria Threaten Election Campaigns

Nigeria is suffering a gas shortage as the falling oil price has affected the country’s ability to import and distribute refined fuels. Coming just weeks before scheduled March 28 elections, the shortage could have a big impact on the campaign, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA.
Video

Video Report: Human Rights in Annexed Crimea Deteriorating

A new report by Freedom House and the Atlantic Council of the United States says the human rights situation in Crimea has deteriorated since the peninsula was annexed by Russia in March of last year. The report says the new authorities in Crimea are discriminating against minorities, suppressing freedom of expression, and forcing residents to assume Russian citizenship or leave. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video 50 Years Later African-Americans See New Voting Rights Battles Ahead

Thousands of people will gather to mark the 50th anniversary of a historic civil rights march on March 7th in Selma, Alabama. In 1965, dozens of people were seriously injured during the event known as “Bloody Sunday,” after police attacked African-American demonstrators demanding voting rights. VOA’s Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights pioneers who are still fighting for voting rights in Alabama more than 50 years later.
Video

Video Craft Brewers Taking Hold in US Beer Market

Since the 1950’s, the U.S. beer industry has been dominated by a handful of huge breweries. But in recent years, the rapid rise of small craft breweries has changed the American market and, arguably, the way people drink beer. VOA’s Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More