UNICEF experts in HIV and AIDS, gathered from over 35 countries, said that the just concluded International AIDS Conference re-affirmed the critical importance of preventing mother to child transmission of HIV. However stigma is still a major factor in keeping women and young people from accessing the services they need.
The number of children born with the virus every year is around 400,000. AIDS 2010 made the goal of effective elimination of HIV in newborns a worldwide priority. UNICEF makes effective elimination of Mother to Child Transmission a primary focus of its work, Executive Director Tony Lake told the conference.
“We have the evidence and we have the momentum that we need to have,” said Jimmy Kolker, chief of HIV and AIDS, UNICEF. “The next wave of response should be shaped by reaching those hardest to reach so that coverage and follow up can be truly universal. Mother and child health and survival depend on it.” The success of PMTCT depends in good part on focusing on difficult and sensitive issues, such as drug use in pregnant women with HIV.
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