World AIDS Day is on December 1st and HIV/AIDS continue to claim the lives of many, especially in Africa where resources are few. Even though 6.6 million people are living with the disease thanks to treatment, prevention of transmission remains critical — especially when it comes to mother-to-child transmision. More than 370,000 children are infected with HIV every year but there is now specific treatment available that eliminates mother-to-child transmission that is reported to be 98% effective.
The organization ONE has committed to leveraging this effective treatment to create an entire generation born without HIV by 2015.
Mothers can transmit HIV to their babies during pregnancy, labor, or through breastfeeding. Without some type of intervention or treatment, there is a 20% to 45% chance that a baby born to an HIV-infected mother will catch the disease. Without treatment, half of these babies will die before their second birthday.
Ending mother-to-child transmission is just one component of a four-pronged effort to end the epidemic, but perhaps the most crucial. Efforts to control the pademic have already been sucessful as The Global Fund has helped 1 million pregnant women with HIV receive medicine to prevent passing the virus on to their babies — which is up from only 150,000 women in 2004.
ONE is currently working to secure that 22 of the most desperate countries receive foreign aid to keep both mother and baby alive. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton recently announced that the Obama adminsitration will use $60 million to perform a “combination prevention” in four African countries.
For more infomation on World AIDS Day, go to ONE.org.