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AIDS Treatment Activists Push UNAIDS and WHO to Meet Commitments to Reduce HIV in Women and Newborns
Date:5/21/2009

UNAIDS Executive Director Calls for Action to Improve Delivery of PMTCT

GENEVA, May 21 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In a dramatic meeting today at the UNAIDS headquarters in Geneva, members of the International Treatment Preparedness Coalition (ITPC) and AIDS-Free World met with the leaders and approximately 100 staff members of UNAIDS and WHO to present ITPC's latest Missing the Target report, Failing Women, Failing Children: HIV, Vertical Transmission and Women's Health, which identifies the failure of the international community in preventing vertical transmission (also known as prevention of mother-to-child transmission or PMTCT).

Citing the research from six countries, ITPC and AIDS-Free World made a strong case that governments and UN agencies have failed to meet their commitment to reduce HIV infection in newborns. In the discussion that followed, almost everyone in the room acknowledged the failure, and Michel Sidibe, Executive Director of UNAIDS issued a call to action to significantly improve delivery of prevention of vertical transmission as a critical step on the road to universal access. "We welcome the personal commitment made by Mr. Sidibe to ensure that the rhetoric to place women at the center of the AIDS response is matched by specific programs and increased budgets. ITPC will continue to monitor governments and UN agencies as they deliver on the goal of universal access," said Aditi Sharma, coordinator of the ITPC report.

Speaking on a media conference call after the meeting, Stephen Lewis, co-director of AIDS-Free World, who co-authored the report's preface, said, "There was tremendous excitement when the idea of preventing vertical transmission was originally put forth, but it has been a matter of some dismay and bewilderment watching the chronicle of lamentable failure ever since. The twin principles which prevention of vertical transmission were meant to embody were univer
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SOURCE International Treatment Preparedness Coalition
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