The new Global Alliance to End AIDS in Children by 2030, made up of UN agencies, civil society groups, governments and international partners, was announced at the landmark International AIDS Conference, which ends in MontrealCanada, on Tuesday.
“Healthy, informed generation”
Addressing the conference, Limpho Nteko from Lesotho shared her journey from a surprise HIV diagnosis to pioneering the women-led mothers2mothers program to combat gestational HIV transmission. Pregnant when diagnosed, Ms. Nteko emphasized the importance of community leadership in the fight against HIV:
“To succeed, we need a healthy, informed generation of young people who feel free to talk about HIV and get the services and support they need to protect themselves and their children from HIV,” she said before the delegates.
“mothers2mothers has achieved the virtual elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV for our enrolled clients for eight consecutive years – showing what’s possible when we empower women and communities to create solutions tailored to their realities.”
Miss. Netko’s emphasis on community leadership will now be supported by the resources of an international coalition.
Four pillars of action
Together, alliance stakeholders have identified four pillars of collective action:
- Bridging the treatment gap among breastfeeding adolescents and women living with HIV and optimizing treatment continuity.
- Prevention and detection of new HIV infections among pregnant and lactating girls and women.
- Promoting accessible testing, optimized treatment and comprehensive care for infants, children and adolescents exposed to and living with HIV.
- Address gender equality and social and structural barriers that impede access to services.
The alliance’s potential success rests on its unifying nature. UNAIDS Executive Director Winnie Byanyima claims that “by bringing together new improved medicines, new political commitment and determined community activism, we can be the generation that ends AIDS in children. We can win this – but we can only win together.”
Only through collaboration at all levels of society can holistic solutions be created to effectively prevent further transmission of HIV, UNAIDS said.
By localizing solutions while mobilizing global commitment and resources, the alliance aims to drive innovation and advance the technical advances needed to solve this pressing problem.