UN AIDS Conference Wrapping Up Friday

Posted June 10th, 2011 at 10:40 am (UTC-5)
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A high-level conference on the global AIDS response wraps up at the United Nations Friday, with member states signing on to a political declaration on intensifying efforts to eliminate HIV and AIDS.

On Thursday, world leaders at the conference launched a new initiative to significantly reduce the number of children born with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, by 2015.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said developed nations have successfully eliminated mother-to-child HIV transmissions by treating women while they are pregnant. He said this proves mother-to-child transmissions can be stopped in the developing world as well.

In 2009, some 370,000 babies were born with HIV. Nearly all of them were born in sub-Saharan Africa. The U.N. wants to reduce that number by 90 percent in the next four years.

The plan calls for increasing access to anti-retroviral drugs and other prevention services for mothers and children, integrating health care services for women and empowering women to take charge of their health and that of their children.

The United States pledged $75 million for the new initiative.

The French news agency reports this week's U.N. AIDS summit also will set a goal of getting anti-retroviral drugs to 15 million HIV-positive people by 2015, which would more than double the number of people currently receiving life-saving treatment.