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PEPFAR Continues To Support Mothers With HIV, Help Prevent Transmission To Their Babies

Huffington Post: Healthy Mothers, Healthy Families Through PEPFAR
Deborah L. Birx, coordinator of U.S. government activities to combat HIV/AIDS and U.S. special representative for global health diplomacy

“…At the height of the HIV/AIDS pandemic in the late 1990s, the picture was bleak. At that time, access to treatment was extremely limited, especially in sub-Saharan Africa where the rate of new HIV infections was exploding. Without treatment, the majority of pregnant women living with HIV died before seeing their children grow up, and many of their children were themselves infected with HIV, passing away before their lives had truly begun. Today, all pregnant women accessing PEPFAR services are immediately offered lifelong antiretroviral treatment if they are diagnosed with HIV, enabling mothers to thrive and watch their children do the same. … As a result of PEPFAR’s and the international community’s expanded efforts — largely through a Global Plan to protect mothers and babies from HIV/AIDS — there was a 60 percent decline in the number of new HIV infections among children in 21 high-burden sub-Saharan African countries between 2009 and 2015. … We have made tremendous progress, but this is no time to slow down or rest on our laurels. PEPFAR’s commitment to mothers — #PEPFAR4Moms — remains stronger than ever, not only on Mother’s Day but every day…” (5/11).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.