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Congress, m2m and EGPAF join together: Elimination of Pediatric HIV

Members of Congress, mothers2mothers and the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation joined together to promote the message that pediatric AIDS can be eradicated by 2015.
Washington DC, May 10, 2012, in honor of Mother’s Day, the Co-Chairs of the HIV/AIDS Caucus–Representatives Trent Franks (R-AZ), Barbara Lee (D-CA), and James McDermott (D-WA) were joined by Representative Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) and Deborah von Zinkernagel, the Principal Deputy Global AIDS Coordinator for the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), toannounce a new bipartisan House resolution: “Recognizing the Potential for the Virtual Elimination of Pediatric HIV and AIDS and Keeping HIV Positive Mothers Alive.”

mothers2mothers’  Mentor Mother, Tlalane Phafoli, shared her courageous story. She said, “I educate women so they won’t pass the virus to their babies and so they stay alive to watch them grow up. I empower women with skills to tackle stigma associated with HIV by disclosing their status and by becoming role models in their communities. I am a living example of how HIV/AIDS doesn’t have to be a death sentence.”
More than 90% of new pediatric HIV infections occur when mothers unknowingly pass the virus to their babies – yet these infections are almost entirely preventable. For the past decade, the U.S. 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. Congressman Franks highlighted that commitment by saying, “One of my top priorities as a Congressman is to make sure no child is born with HIV.”
The press conference raised awareness that new pediatric HIV infections can be stopped and mothers can be kept alive through a continued strong U.S. and global commitment to mothers and their children. “It is absolutely possible to see an AIDS-free generation in Africa,” concluded Congressman McDermott.
 
Contact details:
Lindsay Gilchrist lindsay@us.m2m.org
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