At the 2011 UN General Assembly High Level Meeting on AIDS, sponsored by UNFPA, UNAIDS, UNESCO, the World Health Organization (WHO), and the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), world leaders announced the launch of a Global Plan to eliminate HIV infections in children by 2015 and to help already-infected mothers. The plan aims to address the needs of HIV-positive pregnant women and their children.
The Global Plan noted that “In 2009, 370,000 children became newly infected with HIV globally and an estimated 42,00060,000 pregnant women died because of HIV.” By contrast, the mother-to-child transmission rate in high-income countries was around zero. Moreover, approximately 15.7 million women worldwide over age 15 were living with HIV and about 1.4 million of them became pregnant in 2009.
Babatunde Osotimehin, executive director of UNFPA, emphasized the need to alter gender norms and reduce gender-based violence as part of HIV prevention efforts. Osotimehin clarified during the AIDS Summit, “I would like to stress that access to resources remains a critical challenge for scaling up gender-responsive HIV programming. In fact, I think the biggest game changer that we need is increased commitment, political will and adequate resource investments to address gender inequality as part of the HIV response, translated into adequate resource investment.”