Strategy for an AIDS-Free Generation
Recent scientific advances have proven that using existing HIV prevention tools can dramatically drive down the rate of new infections and virtually eliminate them in babies and children. This exciting research news provided the impetus for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s call to action in November 2011 for pursuing an AIDS-free generation.
This “combination prevention” strategy consists of three key interventions:
- Scaling up treatment of HIV-positive persons
- Preventing mother-to-child transmission
- Expanding voluntary medical male circumcision
When used in combination with each other, along with condoms and other prevention tools, these interventions put us on a plausible path for eliminating new infections among children.
As a key partner agency in the U.S. President’s Plan for AIDS Relief , CDC is working with countries to focus their efforts on implementing this combination prevention strategy. The three prevention interventions are described below, along with some details on progress and goals.
Scaling-up treatment of HIV-positive persons (“treatment as prevention”)
Recent science has shown that when people are HIV positive, treatment with antiretroviral drugs helps prevent the transmission of the HIV virus to others. Effective treatment of a person living with HIV reduces the risk of transmission to a partner by up to 96%, a success rate similar to that of a vaccine.
Preventing mother-to child transmission of HIV
An HIV-positive mother is at risk of transmitting the HIV virus to her child during pregnancy, labor, delivery, or breastfeeding. In 2011, approximately 330,000 children around the world were born with HIV. Mother-to-child transmission has been virtually eliminated in the developed world. Identifying and treating HIV-positive pregnant women with antiretroviral drugs is very effective in eliminating new pediatric infections. This approach is also critical for saving the lives of mothers and preventing other children in the family from being orphaned.
Expanding voluntary medical male circumcision
Medical male circumcision is a one-time intervention with a lifelong benefit. This low-cost procedure reduces the risk that women with HIV will transmit the HIV virus to HIV-negative men by more than 60%. HIV-negative women also benefit from the lower rate of infections among men.
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