May 13, 2013
Noting Sunday was Mother's Day, Ambassador Eric Goosby, head of the U.S. State Department's Office of Global Health Diplomacy and the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, writes in the State Department's "DipNote" blog, "One way that we can help to support women -- and their children -- is by ensuring that all mothers receive the essential health services they need, including for HIV." He highlights a "new and potentially revolutionary tool that has greatly simplified the approach to" preventing mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) -- Option B+ -- which he states "offers all pregnant or breastfeeding women living with HIV lifelong [antiretroviral therapy], rather than relying on laboratory testing to determine eligibility for treatment." He continues, "Remarkably, not only can Option B+ reduce mother-to-child transmission of HIV to less than five percent, but it also maintains the mother's health, provides lifelong reduction of HIV transmission to uninfected sexual partners, and supports PMTCT in future pregnancies." Goosby concludes, "By improving our ability to expand access to lifesaving HIV treatment for mothers and preventing transmission to their infants, Option B+ will be a game-changer in our collective push to achieve an AIDS-free generation" (5/12).