South Africa to Treat All HIV Positive Babies

According to this article, South Africa will begin ARV treatment for all babies born to HIV positive women. All pregnant women who seek treatment, will also receive anti-retroviral medication. This is very big news and will save hundreds of thousands of babies’ lives. Pregnant women and newborn babies receiving treatment brings down the chance of the child being infected to less than 2%. Under the new policy, which will take affect in April, all children under 1 year of age will receive treatment.

Kurt Firnhaber, who runs Right to Care, one of the largest private providers of AIDS treatment, counseling and testing in South Africa, said Zuma outlined “steps that aren’t rhetoric – if they’re implemented.”

He said the burden would now be on the government and foreign donors to find the money to meet Zuma’s ambitious goals.

On Tuesday, in response to a plea from Zuma, the United States announced it was giving South Africa $120 million over the next two years for AIDS treatment drugs. That is in addition to $560 million the U.S. has already pledged to give South Africa in 2010 for fighting AIDS.