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Born free of HIV

This Mother's Day, give a gift more meaningful than flowers …

unite for healthy moms and babies
© UNICEF Malaysia/2011
Ashan Giramaria, a HIV-positive mother, with her baby girl Angel who is HIV-negative, thanks to a UNICEF-supported PMTCT program in Uganda.

Almost every minute, of every day, a baby somewhere in the world is born with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This equates to more than 1,000 babies who acquire HIV daily during their mother’s pregnancy, birth delivery and breastfeeding.

But it need not be like this. Babies born to HIV-positive mothers don’t have to start their lives with ill health and a possible future of stigma and discrimination.

Services are available today for HIV-positive pregnant women to protect their babies from infection. Known as “Prevention-of-Mother-to-Child-Transmission of HIV” (PMTCT), these services include testing, treatment, counseling and support.

When a mother has access to treatment drugs through PMTCT, the chances of HIV transmission to her baby is less than 2%. This means that if all mothers had access to treatment, this threat to newborns could be virtually eliminated, while their children will also be protected from losing their mothers to AIDS!

UNICEF, in partnership with governments and civil society, is working to make this a reality for poor HIV-positive pregnant women and their babies in low and middle-income countries. There is a lot to do and you too can have a role to play in helping us make a difference.

If you know a pregnant woman who is HIV-positive, encourage her to get on the PMTCT program. In Malaysia, it’s free sponsored by the Government.

And for this Mother’s Day, please donate to UNICEF in support of our global efforts to protect mothers and babies from the harm of HIV and AIDS.

                                                   

* Photograph Credit
© UNICEF/UGDA2010-00681/Shehzad Noorani


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