The global plan to end pediatric AIDS
Mother-to-child transmission of HIV is preventable and has been virtually eliminated in the developed world. It is possible to stop new HIV infections among children and keep their mothers alive if pregnant women living with HIV and their children have timely access to quality life-saving antiretroviral drugs.
However, mothers in developing countries are far too often deterred from seeking preventive treatment due to social stigma and overstretched, under-resourced health systems. Approximately half of HIV-positive pregnant women do not receive any medication or information on how to prevent transmission to their infants.
Eliminating mother-to-child transmission of HIV requires significant cross-sector collaboration among governments, multinational organizations and the private sector. Since 2003, Johnson & Johnson has committed $20 million to a range of partners united in their effort to eliminate pediatric HIV. In 2011, Johnson & Johnson pledged an additional $15 million to support a Global Plan by diverse stakeholders to reduce the number of new HIV infections among children by 90 percent and to reduce the number of AIDS-related maternal deaths by 50 percent in 22 priority countries.
Alongside partners, including the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation and mothers2mothers, we are training health leaders, helping women understand how to care for their families and when to access health care, and providing resources to increase access to psychosocial support for pregnant women and new mothers living with HIV.
We are seeing the impact of these efforts. The number of children acquiring HIV infection is declining. According to UNAIDS, the number of children newly infected with HIV declined from 580,000 in 2001 to 240,000 in 2013 – a 58% decline.