MSF reacts to 2012 UNAIDS Global Report
“It’s encouraging to see the number of new child infections declining as a result of more pregnant women having access to HIV treatment in 2011, compared to the year before. Still just over half of pregnant women with HIV in developing countries get treatment which is unacceptable, considering it can prevent their babies from acquiring the virus, while also keeping the mothers themselves healthy.
Too many pregnant women do not receive HIV treatment when they need it, and too many countries still lag behind, providing sub-optimal care with less effective drug regimens. In 2013, we hope to see more countries upgrade their policies to scale up life-long treatment earlier to all pregnant women living with HIV. Treatment for HIV positive pregnant women has multiple benefits, including protecting the mother’s health, greatly reducing risk of transmission to her babies, and reducing the risk of transmission to her sexual partner. Some countries where we work are already rolling out improved strategies to reduce mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
Scaling up HIV treatment to 15 million people from eight million today is feasible and has the crucial triple benefit of reducing illness, reducing death, and reducing the risk of transmission. The pace of scale-up needs to be increased, so that every month more people are started on life-saving HIV treatment than the month before. Better treatment strategies such as starting people on treatment even earlier in their disease progression, in addition to providing all HIV-positive pregnant women with HIV treatment for life, are among the strategies that we expect more countries to start implementing next year.”
- Dr. Manica Balasegaram, Executive Director, Médecins Sans Frontières Access Campaign