Countdown To Zero Initiative to Help Eliminate AIDS in Infants
The current statistics on babies and HIV/AIDS are heartrending. It is believed that a baby with HIV is born every minute. This was enough to prompt the United Nations to join forces with the United States of America.
Project: Countdown to Zero
The initiative to eradicate AIDS in babies is appropriately called Countdown To Zero. The project is expected to cost in the region of $2.5 billion. The prevention program will help to ensure that HIV-positive mothers-to-be are given medication to prevent the transmission of the virus to their babies. The expected impact is that less than five percent of newborn babies will get the virus from their mothers.
The majority of the 15 million women who will get treatment are in sub-Saharan Africa. It has been reported this is almost twice the number of HIV-positive women currently getting treatment. The ultimate aim of Countdown Zero is to make it easier for women to receive treatment for HIV as well as information on preventative methods.
Ban Ki-Moon, UN Secretary General, said at the launch at the initiative, “We are here today to ensure that all children are born healthy and free of disease. We are here to ensure that their mothers live to see them grow.” Countdown to Zero was unveiled at the United Nations High Level Meeting on AIDS. Ki-Moon further stated that the ultimate aim was, “… zero new infections, zero stigma and zero Aids-related deaths.”
HIV Free by 2015
The preamble to the Countdown To Zero campaign states: We believe by 2015, children everywhere can be born free of HIV and their mothers remain alive. While geared towards low and middle income countries, Countdown To Zero will focus primarily on 22 key countries, mostly those in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Statistics show that in high income countries, the new infection rate in children is virtually zero. The rate of death due to HIV is also extremely low in these countries when compared to the statistics for low and middle income countries.
If this works, it will mean a lot for many women and their children. The current data showing the large number of orphans as a result of HIV deaths of parents is frightening. Anything that can help to counteract this is a welcomed blessing.