No African child should be born with HIV by 2015
20 April 2010
During an official visit to Senegal, the UNAIDS Executive Director was received by the President, Mr Abdoulaye Wade on 19 April. Mr Sidibé thanked President Wade for taking the initiative to include an important item on the agenda of the African Union Summit in July 2010 in Kampala, Uganda, titled “Accelerating measures on HIV and MDGs: Partnership to Eliminate Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV in Africa.” The Executive Director noted that HIV has been the major cause of child and infant mortality in major parts of Africa, with about 390,000 children under 15 newly infected with HIV in 2008 alone.
Mr Sidibé also thanked President Wade for the successes recorded by his country in the fight against HIV in general and in the eradication of vertical transmission from mother to child in particular.
In response, President Wade assured Mr Sidibé that “Senegal will work with UNAIDS towards the goal of zero new infections in Senegalese children by 2015.”
Mr Michel Sidibé was in Dakar, Senegal, to take part in the UNAIDS Sub-Saharan Africa Regional Management Meeting, with the aim of leveraging HIV for broader health and development outcomes in Africa and to discuss Senegal’s progress on universal access with its authorities.
Mr Sidibé also met the Prime Minister of Senegal, Mr Souleymane Ndéné Ndiaye, who reaffirmed Senegal’s commitment to total eradication of mother-to-child transmission. He said that “the prevention of new infections should be a priority for all African countries.”
During his visit, Mr Sidibé noted that a lot of progress had been made in the AIDS response in Africa. “In 2008, about 45% of pregnant women living with HIV in this region were receiving antiretroviral drugs to prevent transmission to their children, up from 35% the previous year. Tens of thousands of new HIV infections have been prevented as a result of prevention programmes and the efforts of African governments, civil society and youth,” said Mr Sidibé. Yet despite progress, many challenges remain that prevent people from accessing the HIV prevention and treatment services they need, he added.