On World AIDS Day, Join Her and m2m in Celebrating the Inspirational Women Fighting to End AIDS
Watch & Share the film of Salma’s Trip to South Africa: #WAD2017 @m2mtweets
WORLD AIDS DAY, DECEMBER 1st, 2017 – Despite rapid progress, HIV/AIDS remains a significant problem across East and Southern Africa. African women are bearing the brunt of the epidemic, but they are also leading the fightback. This World AIDS Day, mothers2mothers Patron and CHIME FOR CHANGE Co-founder Salma Hayek Pinault celebrates m2m Mentor Mothers: the fearless, HIV-positive women who are working across eight African nations to stop mothers passing HIV onto their children, fight stigma, and ensure that all families thrive, not just survive. Since m2m began 16 years ago, this work has saved hundreds of thousands of lives, created thousands of jobs, and given health and hope to some of Africa’s most marginalised individuals.
In 2016, m2m and its partners enrolled 1.95 million new clients, and helped protect 700,000 infants from HIV infection. m2m has virtually eliminated mother-to-child transmission of HIV among the enrolled clients it serves directly with an average transmission rate of just 1.6%. Last year alone, Mentor Mothers provided almost 220,000 adolescent girls and young women with education and support, and more than 14,000 children benefitted from m2m’s Early Childhood Development services.
As mothers2mothers’ newest Patron, Salma recently visited South Africa to meet these inspirational Mentor Mothers and witness first-hand the important work they are doing.. “In the course of her work,each Mentor Mother will personally save thousands of lives. These women are strong, proud and incredibly inspiring,” says Salma. “One of the things I love about mothers2mothers is the force of sisterhood. Each Mentor Mother has had an experience of what it means to be told: ‘you are pregnant, you are HIV- positive, and you could pass it to your child.’ They have all lived through the stigma, so when they become one of these women supporting the next generation, they become absolutely fearless.”
One of the women Salma met was Nhlanhla “Vanessa” Motha, who appears in the film from the trip. Nhlanhla discovered she was HIV-positive two years ago when pregnant with her second child. She was very frightened that this meant she would die and leave her eldest daughter motherless and her new baby would be born sick and suffer the same fate. But with support from m2m Mentor Mothers, she accessed treatment and gave birth to an HIV-negative girl, named Oratile. Nhlanhla decided she wanted to share what she learned during her pregnancy to help other mothers and families stay healthy and was hired as an m2m Family Mentor. “Now, I can feel like I am a champion. I can see that without me, other people’s lives are in danger. There are more babies born every day and they need to be prevented from getting HIV, so I must always be there for them,” says Nhlanhla.
Around 20 million people are living with HIV in East and Southern Africa, 59% of whom are women and girls. 790,000 people were newly infected with HIV in 2016, including 77,000 children. In this region, 78% of new adolescent HIV infections were among girls. m2m Mentor Mothers – themselves HIV-positive women – are employed and trained to provide practical advice and emotional support to families to ensure that every child is born HIV-free and remains HIV-free throughout their life. Mentor Mothers typically start their journey with their clients when a newly-pregnant woman is diagnosed as HIV-positive and referred to m2m. Mentor Mothers use their personal experience to ensure that woman starts treatment and sticks to it to avoid passing the virus on to her unborn child. Then, as the women and children they reach grow and change, so does the role of the Mentor Mother; Through m2m’s Early Childhood Development programme, Mentor Mothers ensure children have the best possible start in life. Then, m2m Peer Mentors teach life skills to keep teenagers healthy as they become sexually active, thus protecting the next generation from HIV.
Join Salma in supporting mothers2mothers. Share the film and please donate at https://www.m2m.org/donate. Together, we can end pediatric AIDS and make an HIV-free generation a reality.
mothers2mothers (m2m) is an international NGO founded in Cape Town, South Africa in 2001. m2m employs and trains HIV-positive women to deliver health services, advice, and support to women and their families at health facilities and in local communities. From an initial focus on eliminating mother-to-child transmission of HIV, m2m has expanded into five related areas to deliver benefits for women and their families at all stages of life. As well as a continued focus on HIV-prevention and education, m2m’s services now also include early childhood development, paediatric care and support, and adolescent mentoring. In 2016 alone, m2m and its partners enrolled almost two million new clients into care across seven African countries. Results show that m2m has virtually eliminated mother-to-child transmission of HIV among its clients, and is making significant strides in expanding the scope and scale of its other services.
For more, please visit: www.m2m.org, follow m2m on Twitter @m2mtweets, or, connect with us on Facebook (@mothers2mothersintl) or Instagram (@mothers2mothers).
CHIME FOR CHANGE
CHIME FOR CHANGE Co-Founders Beyoncé Knowles-Carter and Salma Hayek Pinault continue to lead the campaign with its coalition of partner organizations, including the Kering Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Facebook and Hearst Magazines.