World AIDS Day 2009 Universal Access and Human Rights; UNAIDS and the World Health Organization releases its annual Epidemic report.30th November, 2009
The Rose Project welcomes the latest statistics on the epidemic which indicate a decline in new infections over the past eight years, whilst emphasizing the need to expand comprehensive treatment and prevention services, to continue the positive trend.
UNAIDS and the World Health Organization released its annual AIDS Epidemic Update on 24th November, indicating that 33.4 million people were living with HIV in 2008, up slightly from 2007. The higher figure is credited to increased availability to treatment allowing more people to live longer. Overall, the data indicates that new infections have dropped 17 percent over the past eight years.
Despite areas of progress, worrying gaps exist. The report indicates that children still account for 2.1 million of people living with HIV. This is a human rights issue. It’s a human right that a child can grow up to become an adult and yet half of children with HIV die before their second birthday. The reason: they live in poor countries where access to adequate care is limited.
400,000, children each year are still being newly infected, as a result of mother to child HIV transmission in pregnancy. This is preventable. If you place a HIV positive expectant woman on treatment during her pregnancy, the risk of the virus being transmitted to her infant is almost eliminated. However, the majority of pregnant women to not know their HIV status - they need to have access to testing and where HIV positive – the treatment
The Rose Project is funding major project in Lilongwe the capital of Malawi to prevent mother to child HIV transmission in pregnancy. The project entails the provision of HIV testing at the forty antenatal clinics surrounding the capital city and where necessary, treatment for the women. To date 4,000 HIV positive expectant women have been placed on treatment.
This annually released report demonstrates that AIDS remains a global health priority that needs concerted effort. It’s complexity also means we have to address the root causes of vulnerability, encourage responsible behavior, and promote universal access to health care and treatment for all in need. Universal access is not about geography, it’s about humanity.