Eight Foundations Expected to Announce $50M Pilot Program to Reduce Vertical HIV Transmission in Developing Countries
Eight foundations are expected to announce today a $50 million, five-year pilot program aimed at reducing mother-to-child HIV transmission in developing nations, the Wall Street Journal reports. The Rockefeller Foundation, the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the United Nations Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation will fund the initiative, which will provide testing, drug treatment and other health care services for HIV-positive pregnant women and their newborns. A lack of programs providing the low-cost drug regimen to reduce the risk of transmission has "discouraged" HIV-positive pregnant women from seeking treatment, the Journal reports. Although fundraising has been "set back" because of the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon -- the commitment of funds has declined by $10 million since the originally scheduled September announcement -- the foundations intend to raise a total of $100 million for the project. Rockefeller Foundation President Gordon Conway said that although the new fund is separate from the $1.5 billion U.N. Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, it will work in cooperation with the United Nations' fund. Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health will administer the funds to organizations in Africa, Asia and Latin America, and part of the money will go to the United Nations Children's Fund. Experts estimate that of the 26 million pregnant women in sub-Saharan Africa this year, more than 2.5 million are HIV-positive, and without treatment, 500,000 infants may become infected (Bank, Wall Street Journal, 12/7).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.