Members of Congress Champion Efforts to Prevent and Treat HIV

May 10, 2012
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Robert Yule, EGPAF: 202.448.8456; ryule@pedaids.org, Lindsay Gilchrist, m2m: 303.910.4172; lindsay@us.m2m.org

May 10, 2012, Washington, D.C. – In advance of Mother’s Day, the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF) and mothers2mothers (m2m) today welcomed the announcement of a House resolution reaffirming U.S. leadership in efforts to achieve an HIV-free generation.

Co-Chairs of the Congressional HIV/AIDS Caucus – Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ), Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), and
Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA) – introduced a resolution “Recognizing the potential for the virtual elimination of pediatric HIV and AIDS and keeping HIV positive mothers alive.”

For the past decade, the U.S. government, Members of Congress, and implementing organizations have led global efforts to provide care and treatment for mothers living with HIV, and to prevent mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of the virus.

“More than 90% of new pediatric HIV infections occur when mothers unknowingly pass the virus to their babies – but these infections are almost 100% preventable,” said Chip Lyons, President and CEO of the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. “Because of U.S. leadership on this issue, we have now come to the point where we can realistically talk about ending pediatric AIDS around the world.”

Programs like the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) have dramatically increased HIV/AIDS services in sub-Saharan Africa and have saved millions of lives. But currently, about half of HIV-positive, pregnant women have access to PMTCT services, and 1,000 children are needlessly infected with HIV every day.

“There are two kinds of tragedies – never trying and quitting just short of achieving what is possible,” said Dr. Mitch Besser, Founder and Medical Director of m2m. “We have fought so hard to get so close to eliminating pediatric HIV, we can’t stop now. We owe it, not only to those who are living in hope, but to those who died in despair.”

From Mother’s Day until July – when the 2012 International AIDS Conference is to be held in Washington, D.C. – EGPAF and m2m encourage Representatives to sign on to the resolution and support efforts to end HIV/AIDS in mothers and children worldwide.       

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About the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF):
The Foundation is a global leader in the fight against pediatric HIV and AIDS, and has reached more than 13.6 million women with services to prevent transmission of HIV to their babies. It currently works at nearly 6,000 sites and in 15 countries to implement prevention, care, and treatment services; to further advance innovative research; and to execute strategic and targeted global advocacy activities in order to bring dramatic change to the lives of millions of women, children, and families worldwide. Learn more at @EGPAF.

About mothers2mothers (m2m):
mothers2mothers uses a simple and proven model to eliminate transmission of HIV and sustain the health of women and children. We educate, employ and empower mothers living with HIV to work alongside doctors and nurses in understaffed health centers and clinics to provide life-saving information and one-on-one support to other women. Learn more at www.m2m.org or follow us @m2mtweets.