New Initiatives Launched for Zero HIV Infections Among Children in 2015

Two programmes by business leaders today launched new intiatives to end new HIV infections in children by 2015.

The Business Leadership Council and the Social Media Syndicate initiatives will both work towards the same goal, but will use different means to do so.

The Business Leadership Council will focus on eliminating new HIV infections among children in 22 countries mostly in sub-Saharan Africa and on keeping their mothers alive.

Meanwhile, the Social Media Syndicate will focus on raising awareness on HIV/AIDS and generating political will by coordinating with the most influential, individual publishers online.

SecretaryGeneral Ban Ki-moon (centre) speaks at an interactive session on the upcoming UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in Rio de Janeiro, during the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Mr. Ban is flanked by Caio Koch-Weser (left), Vice Chairman of Deutsche Bank, and Antonio de Aguiar Patriota, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Brazil. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

The United Nations and the United States Government initiative for AIDS relief (PEPFAR) welcomed today the launch of two programmes.

“We will not reach our goal of zero new HIV infections among children without the passion and determination of the world’s business leaders.” – Executive Director of the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), Michel Sidibe

The initiatives were presented at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

“The private sector not only brings financial resources, but also their expertise in management, marketing and connecting with people at the grassroots.”-Michel Sidibe

He said the private sector not only brought financial resources, but also their expertise in management, marketing and connecting with people at the grassroots.

Health experts agree that eliminating HIV infections among newborn babies is fully achievable by the end of 2015, but doing so will require a joint effort of the private and public sectors. Financial experts increasingly recognize the high return and cost-effectiveness of investing in disease prevention.

HIV/AIDS has claimed more than 30 million lives since the virus was first identified three decades ago.

The latest UNAIDS report released shows that an estimated 2.6 million people became newly infected with HIV, nearly 20 per cent fewer than the 3.1 million people infected in 1999. In 2009, 1.8 million people died from AIDS-related illnesses, nearly one-fifth lower than the 2.1 million people who died in 2004.

According to the report, from 2001 to 2009, the rate of new HIV infections stabilized or decreased by more than 25 per cent in at least 56 countries around the world, including 34 countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

Of the five countries with the largest epidemics in the region, four countries – Ethiopia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe – have reduced rates of new HIV infections by more than 25 per cent, while Nigeria’s epidemic has stabilized.

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