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New UNAIDS Report Offers Encouraging News, But Most HIV-Positive Mothers Still Not Getting the Care & Treatment They Need

WASHINGTON, Nov. 20 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following statement was released today by Pamela W. Barnes, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation:

"Four years after the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) began funding treatment and prevention, today's report from UNAIDS offers some good news -- while HIV/AIDS remains a devastating worldwide pandemic, we are beginning to make progress. We are especially pleased that the report shows that the estimated number of new infections among children declined from 460,000 in 2001 to 420,000 in 2007, and that HIV declined in pregnant women age 15 to 24 who attended antenatal clinics in 11 of the 15 countries analyzed. However, with 2.5 million children living with AIDS and most of them infected through mother-to-child transmission, this is merely a start.

While we have dramatically diminished mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS in the United States, in the developing world most women still do not get the medicines that could keep them from transmitting HIV to their babies. That's a terrible failure. Without treatment, half the children infected with HIV/AIDS will die before their second birthday, and three in four will die before they turn five. With treatment, children can thrive and grow up healthy.

The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation is working with ministries of health in the countries hardest hit by the pandemic to prevent transmission of HIV from mother to child and to treat children and families affected by HIV/AIDS. This new UNAIDS report shows that it's making a difference, but there's much more to do.

Right now, children account for almost 16 percent of all new HIV infections, but are just 9 percent of those receiving treatment through PEPFAR. That's why we are asking Congress to establish targets over the next five years to: give 80 percent of pregnant women services to prevent mother-to-child transmission; and ensure that 15 percent of people receiving care and treatment under PEPFAR are children, to keep pace with the infection rate. There's no time to waste. Policy makers should scale up efforts to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV and to treat children and families affected by HIV/AIDS."

About the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation

The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation is a worldwide leader in the fight against pediatric AIDS. Our innovative research programs, collaborative training initiatives, advocacy efforts, and rapidly expanding international prevention and treatment programs are bringing dramatic changes to the lives of children worldwide.

SOURCE Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation
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