Mother and Daughter Show the Promise of a Generation Free From HIV
New York City
September 20, 2010
Fortunata and her daughter Florida hold up
1,000 balloons against the New York City skyline
to highlightto world leaders the number of
children infected with HIV every day. Photo
credit: Gary He/AP Images for One Campaign
Fortunata Kasege and her daughter Florida are an incredible pair – warm, outgoing, and eager to spread the message that we can eliminate pediatric HIV and AIDS around the world.
The Foundation worked with ONE Campaign
to help bring their personal story to New York today – amid the United Nations Summit on achieving the Millenium Development Goals – to focus the world’s attention on preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT).
PMTCT is one of the most effective and proven HIV prevention methods, but less than half of women around the world have access to these services. As a result, more than 1,000 children around the globe are needlessly infected with HIV every day.
Fortunata, who is originally from Tanzania, was living in the United States and expecting her first child when she learned she was HIV-positive. Luckily, she had access to aniretroviral medicines that reduced the risk of passing on the virus to her baby to less than 2 percent. Her daughter Florida was born HIV-free, and today is a vibrant thirteen-year-old.
More than a decade ago, there was little access to antiretroviral medicines in Tanzania, and Fortunata watched from the U.S. as friends and family were devastated by the AIDS pandemic.
But today, there is real hope in Tanzania
and other countries
– every year more and more people receive lifesaving treatment, and pregnant women receive the PMTCT services they need to protect their own health and protect their babies from HIV.
Speaking on CNN today, Fortunata and Florida lent their voices to the cause, and their personal story is testament to the fact that we can stop the spread of HIV and AIDS to a new generation:
Robert Yule is the Foundation’s Media Manager in Washington, D.C., and is blogging this week from the United Nations MDG Summit in New York City.