UN WORKING TO CURB SPREAD OF HIV TO INFANTS
With an estimated 930,000 new HIV infections in Asia and the Pacific region last year, United Nations agencies have called for urgent efforts to prevent the escalating spread of the virus and reduce mortality by better integrating HIV prevention, treatment and care into maternal and newborn health services. The UN is promoting a four-pronged strategy for the prevention of primary HIV infection in mothers and young children, including providing medicines to lower the risk that HIV will pass to the baby.
With 60 percent of the world's population living in the region, there is an urgent need to scale up HIV prevention, treatment and care efforts and provide better reproductive health services. Due to inadequate maternal and child health services, many countries also report high infant mortality, especially during newborns' first month of life, according to the UN.
The World Health Organization notes that although efforts in many countries to scale up prevention of parent-to-child transmission and access to HIV treatment are under way, they can only succeed if primary health care systems are strengthened.