A pilot center for the prevention of HIV/AIDS will open its doors in Yaonde, Cameroon on 23 February. Financed by UNESCO extrabudgetary funds, it will focus on combating transmission from mother to child.
While developed countries have nearly eliminated the risk of childhood HIV infection, the problem persists in Africa.

Each year, 2 million HIV positive women give birth to children. Among these newborns, 720,000 contract the virus during pregnancy, birth or breastfeeding.

In total, an estimated 3 million children under 15 are infected worldwide.

However, certain low-cost drugs can reduce transmission rates by up to 40%, thus preventing the infection of tens of thousands of newborns. But for most Africans, these treatments are not available.

Even children born free from the virus are often infected from breast milk. Often, breast milk substitutes are not available, nor is there clean water to prepare them.

The pilot center to fight HIV/AIDS opens its doors on 23 February in Yaounde, Cameroon, a country where close to 12% of the population is living with the virus.

This center is located in a new medical complex near the capital, and is funded by the government of Cameroon, UNESCO extrabudgetary funding from the Italian government and the World Foundation for AIDS Research and Prevention.

Scientific support for the center is provided by Dr. Robert C. Gallo and Dr. Luc Montagnier, co-discoverers of the virus that causes AIDS. Research conducted at the center will focus on the development of a vaccine that will prevent mother to child infection via breast milk.

Background Information:

Families First Africa
Publication Date 10-02-2006 4:00 pm
Source Bureau of Public Information
Publication Date 10-02-2006 4:00 pm
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