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International AIDS Society emphasizes universal access to HIV prevention, treatment and care as a prerequisite for improving maternal and child health
Date:9/28/2010

September 28, 2010 (Geneva, Switzerland) At the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDG) summit in New York this week, world leaders gathered to review progress on the eight goals agreed in 2000 on alleviating world poverty and ill-health by 2015. As the summit came to a close, governments, businesses and aid organisations made commitments totaling $40bn to reach the goals, with particular emphasis on improving maternal and child health. A global strategy for women's and children's health, focused on reducing maternal and child deaths, empowering women and achieving equality, was announced by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon at the end of the summit.

AIDS remains the leading cause of death for women of child-bearing age globally and as such has posed a serious impediment to progress in reducing maternal and child mortality, particularly in sub-Saharan African countries. The International AIDS Society (IAS) calls on governments and donors to accept that success in improving the health of pregnant women and children under five is interdependent with the battle against HIV.

While the world must intensify efforts and funding to address all causes of maternal and child mortality, indications of a flagging commitment to scaling up of HIV services are particularly concerning, given that HIV prevention and treatment services have demonstrated a tangible impact on maternal and child mortality and morbidity in many hyperendemic countries in Africa.

"Highly effective programmes for preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT) exist already, requiring no specific breakthrough work or research that is not already there," said IAS President, Elly Katabira. "In 2008, around 45 percent of HIV-positive pregnant women received antiretroviral (ARV) treatment to prevent HIV transmission to their children, an increase from the 35 percent that were treated in 2007. Further scale-up for HIV-positive pregnant women could easily be achieved, if
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Contact: Lindsey Rodger
lindsey.rodger@iasociety.org
41-227-100-822
International AIDS Society
Source:Eurekalert

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