The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF) welcomes a new declaration to eliminate HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria by 2030. The pledge was announced at the Abuja+12 Special Summit on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, held by Heads of State and Governments of the African Union (AU) on July 15-17 in Abuja, Nigeria. This declaration confirms the AU’s steadfast commitment to creating an AIDS-free generation in Africa.
The Special Summit of the African Union centered on the theme, “Ownership, Accountability, and Sustainability of HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Response in Africa: Past, Present, and the Future.” The declaration, titled “Abuja: Actions towards the Elimination of HIV and AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis in Africa by 2030,” was released immediately following the Special Summit. It includes a commitment to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV, increase access to HIV care and treatment for children and adolescents, review laws to protect people living with HIV and reduce stigma, create HIV/AIDS prevention programs aimed at young women, and accelerate HIV/AIDS prevention programs.
“We are at a critical point in fighting HIV/AIDS in Africa, particularly in our efforts to eliminate pediatric HIV,” said Charles Lyons, president and chief executive offer at the Foundation. “This latest declaration builds upon the great progress that has been made in recent years to end pediatric HIV. The ambitious goals set forth by the AU will help improve the health of people in Africa and yield economic and social progress, especially for women and children.”
The AU’s pledge comes on the heels of new, consolidated HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention guidelines, released by the World Health Organization (WHO) on June 30. In line with the AU’s declaration, the WHO’s guidelines call for expanded prevention and treatment efforts for millions of HIV-positive people in Africa, including providing lifelong access to antiretroviral therapy (ART) to all HIV-positive pregnant and breastfeeding woman and providing ART for all HIV-positive children younger than five years of age.
“The AU’s declaration signals that African countries are ready to take more ownership of their public health initiatives,” said Rhoda Igweta, senior public policy and advocacy officer at EGPAF. “Combined with the new WHO guidelines, there is tremendous opportunity for African countries to become global leaders in the effort to achieve an AIDS-free generation. With the right resources in place, the AU should meet its goal to eliminate HIV/AIDS by 2030.”
EGPAF is currently one of the largest providers of prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT) services in sub-Saharan Africa, and a leader in the global movement to end pediatric HIV/AIDS. To date, EGPAF has provided PMTCT and other health services to nearly 16 million women and their babies and operates more than 5,500 sites in 15 countries worldwide. Still, more than 900 babies are born HIV-positive every day, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa. Currently, 57 percent of HIV-positive eligible adults receive HIV treatment, but only 33 percent of eligible children living with HIV have access to the medicines they need.
About the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF):
EGPAF is a global leader in the fight against pediatric HIV/AIDS, and has reached more than 16 million women with services to prevent transmission of HIV to their babies. It currently works at more than 5,500 sites and in 15 countries to implement prevention, care, and treatment services; to further advance innovative research; and to execute global advocacy activities that bring dramatic change to the lives of millions of women, children, and families worldwide. For more information, visit www.pedaids.org.