This is a guest blog by Shungu Gwarinda, programme officer for mothers2mothers of South Africa, one of the Global Health Council members present at the Sixth IAS Conference in Rome.
ROME — Undoubtedly, the evidence shared at the IAS Conference in developing more efficacious biomedical interventions to reduce HIV incidence rejuvenated the push for even greater investment in HIV/AIDS programming. It was a great educational experience for me as non-clinical programme staff to delve into the biomedical aspects of the prevention-of-mother-to-child-transmission. It brought home the goals that we are driving towards in our work at mothers2mothers.
The message I left with was the dire need communicated by many of the delegates, of bridging the gap between scientific advancements, HIV/AIDS policy and programmes and the lived realities of pregnant women and new mothers living with HIV, especially in Africa.
Significant advancements have been made in the past 30 years but what was highlighted in many of the sessions I attended was the continued limited access to key life-saving care and treatment for the thousands of pregnant women and new mothers living with HIV, especially those in resource-constrained settings. While the scientific advancements thematic in much of the discussions have injected renewed energy to push forward the incredible achievements that have been realized to date, they also brought home the message that the world needs to move faster if we are to achieve the Millennium Development Goals in resource-constrained settings, especially in Africa which continues to carry much of the HIV burden in the world.
The conference was a great sharing and learning platform and there were growing number of loud voices echoing the need for heightened efforts in non-clinical interventions to support women living with HIV in accessing the care and treatment they and their families need to live full, healthy and productive lives.