USAID to Give Up to $100M to Glaser Foundation for Prevention of Vertical HIV Transmission Overseas
Officials from the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation yesterday announced that USAID has granted the group up to $100 million to expand its efforts to prevent vertical HIV transmission in developing countries, the Washington Post reports. The grant, which will be disbursed over five years, will allow the foundation to reach up to three million pregnant women through its "Call to Action Project." Under the project, pregnant women at 231 sites in 17 countries are offered HIV testing and counseling. Most of the sites are located in sub-Saharan African nations, but the group also operates sites in Russia, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Georgia and India. If a woman tests positive, she is given a single dose of the antiretroviral drug nevirapine during labor to reduce the odds of transmitting HIV to her infant. The infant is also given a single dose of the drug. Some studies have demonstrated that nevirapine intervention can reduce the rate of vertical transmission by about 50%, down to 13% (Washington Post, 8/1). The grant will be used to train the program's health care workers to provide testing and counseling services, provide infant feeding education and supply nevirapine to
HIV-positive pregnant women and their infants. The money will also go toward expanding the program to include care and support services for families, including testing and counseling, antiretroviral treatment and disease management. "The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation applauds USAID, President Bush and leaders of both parties in Congress for recognizing the important role that programs to prevent mother-to-child transmission play in the global pandemic," foundation President and CEO Kate Carr said, adding, "The $100 million award from USAID will allow us to reach up to three million women in the next five years, prevent thousands of new infections around the world and continue to ensure that families stay healthy and communities stay strong." More than 2,000 children become infected with HIV each day, according to the foundation (Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation release, 7/31).
A kaisernetwork.org HealthCast of the Washington, D.C., meeting where the foundation made its announcement is available online. The meeting, which was sponsored by USAID, addressed new developments in HIV/AIDS that came out of the XIV International AIDS Conference held last month in Barcelona, Spain.