U.S.-U.N. plan would erase AIDS in babies

June 10, 2011 at 12:02 PM
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UNITED NATIONS, June 10 (UPI) -- The United Nations and the U.S. government have begun an initiative to eliminate HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, in babies by 2015, U.N. officials said.

The campaign seeks to treat HIV-positive pregnant women, the BBC reported Friday.

The United Nations said one HIV-infected baby, almost all in sub-Saharan Africa, is born nearly every minute.

The joint initiative, "Countdown Zero," would cost about $2.5 billion to care for 15 million women, roughly double the number of women now being treated, the BBC said.

One major element of the campaign is to ensure that all women, especially those who are pregnant, can access quality HIV prevention and treatment services for themselves and their children, U.N. officials said.

"We are here today to ensure that all children are born healthy and free of disease. We are here to ensure that their mothers live to see them grow," U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said.

"We believe that by 2015 children everywhere can be born free of HIV and that their mothers can remain healthy," said Michel Sidibe, executive director of the U.N. AIDS prevention project. "This new global plan is realistic, it is achievable and it is driven by the most affected countries."

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