Statement of Charles Lyons, President and CEO of the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation
Washington, D.C. - "We welcome the PEPFAR Blueprint released by Secretary Clinton this World AIDS Day as the next step in the Administration's commitment to an AIDS-free generation. The Blueprint is specific, action-oriented, and time bound - and it sets priorities for achieving the elimination of pediatric HIV and AIDS.
It also provides a road map for the U.S. government to build on previous investments that have transformed the global AIDS landscape, and make strategic investments to hasten the end of the epidemic. While the Blueprint highlights U.S. contributions through PEPFAR, it also sharpens the focus on shared global responsibilities and country ownership - as well as the vital contributions needed from the private sector, civil society, and people living with HIV.
As one of PEPFAR's first implementing partners and one of the largest global providers of prevention of mother-to-child transmission and care and treatment services, the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation is committed to achieving an AIDS-free generation, and we're pleased to see women and children at the core of this strategy. We are also committed to the principle of sustainability, and have facilitated the creation of locally-governed organizations in Côte d'Ivoire, Mozambique, and Tanzania that are currently helping lead the AIDS response in their countries.
A crucial first step to an AIDS-free generation is ensuring that no child is born with HIV, and we welcome the Blueprint's strong focus on eliminating new HIV infections in children. Progress in the world's hardest-hit regions has been truly astounding - with the number of new HIV infections in children cut nearly in half since PEPFAR's launch in 2004. We too believe that ending HIV in children is not only a moral imperative, but a smart investment in our future.
The Blueprint outlines the steps needed to help countries successfully implement WHO guidelines on PMTCT and treatment, as well as the recommendations from the PEPFAR and UNAIDS-backed Global Plan to end HIV infections in children and keep their mothers alive and healthy. It also addresses the urgent need to narrow the treatment gap between children and adults by focusing on early infant diagnosis and access to pediatric drug formulations, and the need for care and support for children left orphaned or vulnerable by AIDS.
Ultimately, the Blueprint makes a very strong promise to the next generation: that they will be born HIV-free, that they will have access to HIV treatment with drugs that are safe and effective, and that they will receive services designed just for them into adulthood and beyond, until a cure is found. It is a challenge that we readily accept, and a promise that the global community will have to keep to make an AIDS-free generation a reality."