(1)Approximately 2,000 children around the world are infected each day with HIV through mother-to-child transmission. Transmission can occur during pregnancy, labor, and delivery or through breast feeding. Over 90 percent of these cases are in developing nations with little or no access to public health facilities.
(2)Mother-to-child transmission is largely preventable with the proper application of pharmaceuticals, therapies, and other public health interventions.
(3)Certain antiretroviral drugs reduce mother-to-child transmission by nearly 50 percent. Universal availability of this drug could prevent up to 400,000 infections per year and dramatically reduce the number of AIDS-related deaths.
(4)At the United Nations Special Session on HIV/AIDS in June 2001, the United States committed to the specific goals with respect to the prevention of mother-to-child transmission, including the goals of reducing the proportion of infants infected with HIV by 20 percent by the year 2005 and by 50 percent by the year 2010, as specified in the Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS adopted by the United Nations General Assembly at the Special Session.
(5)Several United States Government agencies including the United States Agency for International Development and the Centers for Disease Control are already supporting programs to prevent mother-to-child transmission in resource-poor nations and have the capacity to expand these programs rapidly by working closely with foreign governments and nongovernmental organizations.
(6)Efforts to prevent mother-to-child transmission can provide the basis for a broader response that includes care and treatment of mothers, fathers, and other family members who are infected with HIV or living with AIDS.
(7)HIV/AIDS has devastated the lives of countless children and families across the globe. Since the epidemic began, an estimated 13,200,000 children under the age of 15 have been orphaned by AIDS, that is they have lost their mother or both parents to the disease. The Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) estimates that this number will double by the year 2010.
(8)HIV/AIDS also targets young people between the ages of 15 to 24, particularly young women, many of whom carry the burden of caring for family members living with HIV/AIDS. An estimated 10,300,000 young people are now living with HIV/AIDS. One-half of all new infections are occurring among this age group.
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