Coalition Announces Grants to Prevent Vertical HIV Transmission in Africa and Asia
A group of private foundations and the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health yesterday announced the launch of a program that will offer antiretroviral treatment to a "selected number" of pregnant, HIV-positive women and their HIV-positive family members at 40 sites in eight African and Asian nations, the Washington Post reports. All of the sites already offer HIV testing to pregnant women, and those who test positive at the sites are offered a short course of antiretroviral medicine to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV. The new "MTCT-Plus" program will offer continuous antiretroviral treatment to about 10,000 individuals in addition to treatment to protect infants against contracting HIV. The program will spend about $50 million initially (Brown, Washington Post, 7/11). In the first phase of the program, the 12 grantees, which operate the 40 programs in Cote d'Ivoire, Kenya, Mozambique, Rwanda, South Africa, Thailand, Uganda and Zambia, will receive more than $9 million. They will also receive antiretroviral drugs and drugs for treating AIDS complications, in addition to training and technical assistance (Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health release, 7/10). UNAIDS Executive Director Peter Piot called MTCT-Plus "pioneering," adding, "for once we will be able to say that it will be women who benefit first from a technology, a new initiative" (Washington Post, 7/11). The foundations that have contributed to the program are the Bill & Melinda Gates, William and Flora Hewlett, Robert Wood Johnson, Kaiser Family, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur, David and Lucille Packard, Rockefeller, Starr and United Nations Foundations (Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health release, 7/10).
A Webcast of the announcement is available online.