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AIDS Charity AVERT Launches Stop AIDS in Children Campaign

The international HIV and AIDS charity AVERT is today launching Stop AIDS in Children, a campaign that calls for an end to the 380,000 child AIDS deaths and half a million new infant HIV infections that occur worldwide every year.

At this year's G8 summit in Germany, the leaders of the world's eight most powerful countries had a chance to stop child AIDS deaths by committingspecific funds for prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) services in the developing world. They failed to do so. Over 1 million children may die over the next three years as a result.

In response, the Stop AIDS in Children campaign is asking for urgent efforts to be made to stop the transmission of HIV from mother to baby, so that by 2010, the number of children dying of AIDS will have been halved.

'It is a catastrophe that more than 10 years after we first learned howto prevent mother-to-child transmission, half a million babies are still becoming infected with HIV each year and hundreds of thousands of families are having to suffer the pain of losing a child,' said Annabel Kanabus, director of AVERT.

'In 2001, world leaders signed an agreement to give every woman access toPMTCT services by 2010. Yet with less than three years to go, just one in tenHIV positive women are getting the PMTCT care they need,' added AVERT'sInformation Officer, Bonita de Boer. 'We know what works. What's lacking isthe will to do it.'

To reach the target of halving child AIDS deaths by 2010, theStop AIDS in Children campaign is asking for all governments of countrieswith significant levels of HIV infection to make PMTCT a national priority,and to ensure that any services already in place are effectively reducingchild infection rates. It is also looking to international agencies anddeveloped country governments to increase emphasis on, and funding for,PMTCT.

AVERT intends to run the Stop AIDS in Children campaign untilWorld AID S Day on 1st December 2007. However, if insufficient progress ismade, the campaign will be extended beyond this date. During this time AVERTwill be working with the media to highlight the tragedy of mother-to-childtransmission, and asking members of the public to show their support for thecampaign by 'signing up' and taking action. The campaign will also featureprominently on AVERT's award winning website atwww.avert.org/stop-aids-children.


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