Linking HIV/AIDS to Women's and Children's Health
According to the WHO, AIDS is the leading cause of death among women aged 15-44 worldwide. Nearly 60% of those living with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa are women. UNICEF estimates that nearly 12 million children in sub-Saharan Africa have lost one or both parents to HIV/AIDS. Women and children living with HIV also face other conditions, ranging from inadequate access to family planning to lack of antenatal care to the need for food and nutrition support. As part of its overall prevention, care and support, and treatment efforts, PEPFAR is leveraging and linking HIV services to broader delivery mechanisms that improve health outcomes for women and children. Some of these activities include:
- Increasing investment in prevention of mother-to-child transmission to meet 80% coverage levels in HIV testing and counseling of pregnant women and 85% coverage levels of ARV prophylaxis for those women who test positive;
- Increasing the proportion of HIV-infected infants and children who receive treatment commensurate to their representation in a country's overall epidemic, helping countries to meet national coverage levels of 65% for early infant diagnosis, and doubling the number of at-risk babies born HIV-free;
- Expanding integration of HIV prevention, care and support, and treatment services with family planning and reproductive health services, so that women living with HIV can access necessary care, and so that all women know how to protect themselves from HIV infection;
- Strengthening the ability of families and communities to provide supportive services, such as food, nutrition, education, livelihood and vocational training, to orphans and vulnerable children; and
- Expanding PEPFAR's commitment to cross-cutting integration of gender equity in its programs and policies, with a new focus on addressing and reducing gender-based violence.
Programmatic Strategy: In this second phase of PEPFAR, a new program strategy is underway that supports the Administration's overall emphasis on improving health outcomes, increasing program sustainability and integration, and strengthening health systems. Some of these changes are already being implemented with planning and programming for FY 2010. Over the next year, PEPFAR will be working closely with country teams in order to translate, prioritize, and implement this strategy in a manner appropriate to the country context. More information on the broader strategic framework for PEPFAR activities can be found in the strategy annexes which will be made available at www.pepfar.gov/strategy.