Increased Access To PMTCT Needed To End Pediatric AIDS, Build An ‘AIDS-Free Generation’

In this post in the Huffington Post’s “Impact” blog, Charles Lyons, president and CEO of the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, responds to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s speech at the NIH last week in which she called for an “AIDS-free generation,” writing, “As Secretary Clinton pointed out, we’ve never before had as many tools to get ahead of the disease as we do now,” such as male circumcision and treatment as prevention, “[b]ut one of the cornerstones of her strategy to create an AIDS-free generation is a tool we’ve actually had in our arsenal for a long time: the ability to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV.”

“By providing antiretroviral drugs to pregnant women and administering them to their babies after birth, doctors were able to reduce the HIV transmission rate to as little as two percent,” he writes, adding, “Because of this, new HIV cases in children dropped dramatically in the U.S. and other countries, to the point where we have virtually eliminated pediatric AIDS in the developed world.” Lyons highlights the success of early prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT) programs and concludes, “Around the world, millions of mothers are still fighting to get our attention, and to give their children a chance at an HIV-free future. We need to make their fight our fight, and finish the job of ending pediatric AIDS and building an AIDS-free generation” (11/12).