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Healthy Mothers, Healthy Families Through PEPFAR

When Kamohelo’s HIV check got here again constructive, she was devastated. What began as a routine prenatal go to for this 27-year-old pregnant mom in Lesotho had left her considering suicide.

Fortunately, an area mentor mom supported by the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) was by Kamohelo’s aspect. She knowledgeable Kamohelo that by persistently taking antiretroviral drugs there was a great probability her child can be born with out HIV and each of them might reside lengthy, wholesome, and productive lives.

Kamohelo, feeling inspired, started her antiretroviral remedy, joined a help group, and finally delivered an HIV-negative child boy. Eight months later, Kamohelo efficiently utilized to turn out to be a mentor mom herself. She is now sharing her expertise and aiding different moms to remain wholesome and have HIV-free infants.

This Mother’s Day, we have fun the hundreds of thousands of moms around the globe who, like Kamohelo, keep AIDS-free, care for his or her youngsters, help their households, and strengthen their communities. We additionally acknowledge the compassion and generosity of the American individuals who, by means of PEPFAR, have saved and improved the lives of moms, youngsters, and households around the globe.

In 2016, PEPFAR supported life-saving antiretroviral remedy for 11.5 million males, women, and youngsters. Last yr, PEPFAR additionally offered HIV testing and counseling for 11.5 million pregnant women, enabling virtually 760,000 HIV-positive pregnant women to obtain antiretroviral drugs each for their very own health and to scale back the danger of mother-to-child transmission of HIV. In PEPFAR-supported nations, 99.5 % of recognized HIV-infected pregnant women have been initiated on lifelong antiretroviral remedy. And because of PEPFAR and the help of American individuals, almost 2 million infants have been born HIV free to pregnant moms dwelling with HIV.

At the peak of the HIV/AIDS pandemic within the late 1990s, the image was bleak. At that point, entry to remedy was extraordinarily restricted, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa the place the speed of latest HIV infections was exploding. Without remedy, nearly all of pregnant women dwelling with HIV died earlier than seeing their youngsters develop up, and lots of of their youngsters have been themselves contaminated with HIV, passing away earlier than their lives had really begun. Today, all pregnant women accessing PEPFAR providers are instantly provided lifelong antiretroviral remedy if they’re recognized with HIV, enabling moms to thrive and watch their youngsters do the identical.

PEPFAR’s help doesn’t cease after moms give delivery. Even although Kamohelo’s son was born HIV free, had she stopped taking her treatment, she would have endangered her personal health and risked a 15 to 25 % probability of passing HIV to him whereas breastfeeding. In Kamohelo’s case, the help she acquired throughout this important time proved profitable when her son’s HIV-negative standing was confirmed at age 18 months.

As a results of PEPFAR’s and the worldwide group’s expanded efforts – largely via a Global Plan to guard moms and infants from HIV/AIDS – there was a 60 % decline within the variety of new HIV infections amongst youngsters in 21 high-burden sub-Saharan African nations between 2009 and 2015.

But our work is just not finished. In 2015, 150,000 youngsters turned newly contaminated with HIV and 1.eight million youngsters have been dwelling with HIV/AIDS, solely half of whom had entry to antiretroviral remedy. Every yr, over 390,000 adolescent women and younger women turn out to be contaminated with HIV – greater than 1,000 a day. In sub-Saharan Africa, almost three out of 4 adolescents newly contaminated with HIV are feminine, and in some nations younger women are as much as 14 occasions extra more likely to contract HIV than younger males.

These startling statistics are why PEPFAR, alongside the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Girl Effect, Johnson & Johnson, Gilead Sciences, and ViiV Healthcare, are main the DREAMS public-private partnership, whose packages have reached over 1 million adolescent women and younger women.

They are additionally why PEPFAR and the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation spearheaded the two-year Accelerating Children’s Treatment (ACT) initiative, which helped almost 562,000 youngsters obtain remedy in 9 high-burden sub-Saharan African nations.

With focus, dedication, and influence, we will attain the day when each youngster is born HIV free, each youngster who’s already dwelling with HIV will obtain life-saving remedy, each woman and boy will stay HIV free all through adolescence and younger maturity, and each lady dwelling with HIV – pregnant or not – will obtain the remedy and care that she wants. PEPFAR, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, and different companions are spearheading the Start Free Stay Free AIDS Free framework – an excellent fast-track strategy towards ending AIDS amongst youngsters, adolescents, and younger women – to assist make this imaginative and prescient a actuality.

We have made super progress, however that is no time to decelerate or relaxation on our laurels. PEPFAR’s dedication to moms – #PEPFAR4Moms – stays stronger than ever, not solely on Mother’s Day however day-after-day. Together, we have now the extraordinary alternative to regulate and finally finish the AIDS epidemic as a public health menace – making a world that’s more healthy, stronger, and safer for moms and us all.

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Kamohelo Moroeng is a 27-year-old HIV-positive mom supported by PEPFAR in Lesotho. Read her story»

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