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Programs to Prevent HIV in Newborns Failing in the Developing World - Over 900 Avoidable HIV Infections Every Day
Date:5/21/2009

New multi-country research study finds neither newborns nor their mothers are receiving appropriate treatment and care to end this needless tragedy

NEW YORK and GENEVA, May 21 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Global and national programs to prevent vertical (mother-to-child) transmission are in disarray and governments are falling seriously short of their goals, leading to hundreds of thousands of needless HIV infections annually, according to new on-the-ground research from six countries published in the latest Missing the Target report -- "Failing Women, Failing Children: HIV, Vertical Transmission and Women's Health" -- from the International Treatment Preparedness Coalition (ITPC), to be released during the 62nd World Health Assembly (WHA) in Geneva.

Although the drugs have been available for over a decade, two-thirds of HIV-positive pregnant women in the developing world do not receive any antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) to prevent HIV transmission to infants. Worse, most of those who get drugs are treated with a therapy known to be just over 40% effective, rather than the triple-dose combination therapy that successfully prevents almost 98% of newborn HIV infections in the developed world.

"The statistics clearly show that governments of developing countries are failing to provide effective drug therapy to prevent HIV infections in newborns. Worse still, our research findings point to an unacceptable absence of a comprehensive program to prevent vertical transmission," said Aditi Sharma, coordinator of the Treatment Monitoring and Advocacy Project of ITPC. "Unless governments begin to address the fundamental barriers specific to women that stop them accessing health care services, the world will continue to miss the target of eradicating vertical transmission of HIV."

Research conducted by civil society activists in Argentina, Cambodia, Moldova, Morocco, Uganda and Zimbabwe
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SOURCE International Treatment Preparedness Coalition
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