WASHINGTON, May 20, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF) today announced that it has reached 20 million women with lifesaving services, such as HIV testing, counseling, and treatment, to prevent HIV-positive women from passing the virus to their babies. EGPAF is one of the largest providers of prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV services worldwide and a global leader in the effort to end AIDS in children. This accomplishment marks a significant milestone for EGPAF and the worldwide effort to achieve an AIDS-free generation.
"What seemed impossible only a few years ago is now within our grasp," said Charles Lyons, EGPAF president and CEO. "We could never have reached 20 million women without support from our global partners and the dedication of health workers around the world. Only together can we get the number of new HIV infections to zero. Our work will continue until no child has AIDS."
Globally, pediatric HIV infections have been reduced by more than half due to PMTCT programs. EGPAF supports eight of the 14 countries that have seen a 30 percent or greater decline in pediatric infections since 2009—Cameroon, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
"I am living proof that an HIV-positive woman can have an HIV-negative baby," said EGPAF Ambassador Fortunata Kasege. "My daughter, Florida, was born HIV-negative and today I am pregnant with my second daughter, who will also be born HIV-free thanks to PMTCT services. EGPAF has given millions of women worldwide the opportunity to access lifesaving HIV testing, treatment, and prevention services."
Pediatric HIV is preventable and globally, 62 percent of HIV-positive pregnant women have access to PMTCT services. This includes family planning to ensure safe and healthy pregnancies; HIV testing and counseling; accessible and affordable antiretroviral therapy (ART) for pregnant women, mothers, and children living with HIV; and early infant testing, diagnosis, and treatment.
However, each day nearly 700 children become newly infected with HIV, almost all of whom contract the virus from their mothers during pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding. More than 90 percent of these pediatric infections occur in sub-Saharan Africa where barriers to treatment still remain.
With support from the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), EGPAF works with local partners and ministries of health to provide women and families with comprehensive health and HIV services needed to end AIDS in children.
About the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF):
EGPAF is a global leader in the fight against pediatric HIV/AIDS, and has reached 20 million women with services to prevent transmission of HIV to their babies. It currently supports more than 7,000 health facilities and works in 15 countries to implement prevention, care, and treatment services; to further advance innovative research; and to execute global advocacy activities that bring dramatic change to the lives of millions of women, children, and families worldwide. For more information, visit www.pedaids.org.
SOURCE Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation