World AIDS Day 2015: can we end mother-to-child transmission by 2020?

 

It’s World AIDS Day today, and we’re celebrating the huge amount of progress that has been made towards defeating AIDS for good.

The UN announced earlier in the year that we could be on track to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030 – if the world makes the right investments now.

Today’s figures show that new HIV infections have fallen by 35% since 2000 – with a massive 58% fewer infections among children. That’s largely due to reduced mother-to-child transmission.

AIDS-related deaths have fallen by 42% since the peak in 2004. The global response to HIV has saved nearly 8 million lives since 2000.

Ensuring access to antiretroviral therapy for 15.8 million people was thought impossible 15 years ago. In 2000, fewer than 1% of people living with HIV in low- and middle-income countries had access to treatment. But in 2014, the global coverage of people receiving ARV therapy was 40%. We have made huge progress!

But we need to keep chasing zero! To take the AIDS response forward, the UN has developed a Fast-Track approach to reach a set of targets by 2020. One of these is zero new HIV infections among children by 2020, and mothers living with HIV kept alive and well. We are pursuing this goal, alongside chasing zero AIDS-related deaths, in sub-Saharan Africa through the work of our Mother Buddies and the Pregnancy Twinning programme. Giving expectant mothers support and advice during pregnancy – including access to ARV therapy – is proving to be a very effective way to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV and to keep whole families affected by HIV healthy and well.

We can’t wait to see a whole generation born free from HIV – and it’s exciting to know that it could happen in the next ten or fifteen years.

If you’d like to join the chase this Christmas, you can make a difference by sending a Chasing Zero Christmas present. You can send somebody you know a special card and gift, and make a donation on their behalf that pays for a woman in Malawi to give birth safely at a clinic or hospital, or to get support throughout her whole pregnancy through Pregnancy Twinning, including accessing ARV treatment if she’s living with HIV. Find out more here. Thanks for helping to change the world!

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