UNAIDS recently published “Countdown to Zero: A Global Plan Towards the Elimination of New HIV Infections Among Children by 2015 and Keeping Their Mothers Alive.” Leaders from 25 countries, 30 civil societies, private sector, networks of people living with HIV and international organizations met to discuss the AIDS pandemic and draft a plan to force a dramatic decrease in the transmission of AIDS from mother to child during childbirth.
The plan has the following Global Targets:
Global Target #1: Reduce the number of new HIV infections among children by 90%
Global Target #2: Reduce the number of AIDS-related maternal deaths by 50%.
And these four key principles for success:
1. Women living with HIV are central and must remain a focus
2. Countries must own responsibility for eliminating new HIV infections among children
3. National plans must leverage synergies, linkages and integration for improved sustainability
4. Responsibility is shared between families, communities and countries and accountability must be specific
There are many challenges that must be overcome for “Countdown to Zero” to reach its goal. Among them are the needs for excellent leadership, countries to remain in alignment with the plan, adequate finances, comprehensive and coordinated implementation of treatment for mother and child, human resources, and infrastructure to support the consistent transport of supplies.
(To access the full report, go to www.unaids.org.)