Two days ago the Kaiser Network released a fairly detailed article (“Majority of HIV-Positive Pregnant Women In Developing World Lack Access to PMTCT Services, Report Says“) about a scathing new report on lack of access to treatment for prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV in the developing world. 

Two-thirds of HIV-positive pregnant women in the developing world do not have access to treatment to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission, which could lead to 370,000 new HIV cases annually among infants, according to a study released Thursday by the International Treatment Preparedness Coalition, Bloomberg reports (Chase, Bloomberg, 5/21). Of the 1.5 million HIV-positive pregnant women each year in the developing world, about one-third receive any kind of drug therapy at all, the report said, adding that most of the treatment is inadequate and fails to prevent MTCT. […]

The report cited poor government and donor coordination, as well as funding gaps, as the main reasons many women do not obtain the treatment, Stephen Lewis, founder of AIDS-Free World and a co-author of the report, said (Bloomberg, 5/21). […]
 
The report found that in 61 countries — such as Cameroon, Ethiopia, India and Nigeria — more than three-quarters of HIV-positive pregnant women do not receive any drug treatment for PMTCT. It said that the world is tolerating a “shameful example of double standards” because MTCT has been virtually eliminated in wealthy nations, where most HIV-positive pregnant women have access to the complete drug regimen (Globe and Mail, 5/22). […]

Officials from UNAIDS, the World Health Organization and 20 international groups are expected to meet this week in Nairobi, Kenya, to launch a campaign aimed at improving access to PMTCT services, UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibe said.

It seems scandalous that progress is lagging so much in this area.  If you think about the best ways to get ahead of a pandemic, surely keeping babies from being born with the disease must be near the top of the list!  I will hope to hear good news out of the Nairobi meetings next week.

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~ by h.e.g. on May 24, 2009.

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