Fighting For An HIV-Free Generation

This content was originally published by Johnson & Johnson's Campaign for Nursing.

Over the past decade, great strides have been made to significantly lower the rate of HIV infection worldwide, but the number of children contracting the virus remains high. In fact, an estimated 400 children become infected with HIV every day, 90 percent of whom contract the virus through mother-to-child transmission. Yet, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), the risk of mother-to-child transmission can be reduced to less than five percent by providing the mother access to effective antiretroviral therapy and support services. Especially in developing countries, nurses play critical roles in providing mothers and their children access to these services.

For more than 25 years, Johnson & Johnson has partnered with the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF) to eliminate mother-to-child-transmission of HIV in India and seven countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Johnson & Johnson supports EGPAF in its ability to direct resources and fill key service delivery gaps to achieve maximum impact of health programs. One such program is the New Horizons Advancing Pediatric HIV Care initiative, a multi-sectoral collaboration that aims to improve and enhance HIV/AIDS treatment for children living with the virus through increased awareness and research, health systems strengthening and improved access to medicines. Since the start of this initiative in 2014, the number of new HIV infections in children occurring every day has been reduced from 650 to 400, globally.

EGPAF currently has a footprint spanning across 19 countries worldwide. The organization supports more than 5,000 sites around the world, providing women with services to prevent the transmission of HIV to their babies, treating HIV-positive individuals – including nearly 70,000 children – and testing women for HIV. The organization provides training to thousands of frontline health workers, including nurses, to improve practices and processes within the clinics they work in and the surrounding communities to enhance the quality of care delivered to HIV/AIDS patients.

“EGPAF understands that nurses and other frontline health workers are the lifeblood of service delivery,” Chip Lyons, president and CEO of EGPAF, stated. “And we act on that understanding by investing in the capacity and expertise of our primary care staff. Through initiatives like Project DELTA in Cameroon, EGPAF equips and empowers nurses to perform functions previously executed exclusively by doctors, such as HIV testing, counseling, and treatment initiation. These efforts not only streamline service delivery, but also improve the quality of care by allowing deeper bonds to be forged between frontline health workers and their patients.”

Looking ahead, EGPAF has published a strategic plan for 2017-2020, focused on three core goals in HIV services, research, and advocacy.

“Our goals for the next three years mutually reinforce one another,” Lyons explained. “We cannot succeed in expanding high quality, evidence-based programs—or strengthening the health systems that will carry those programs out—without driving research and innovation forward. And we cannot accomplish either of these goals without advocating for the policies, resources, and leadership that progress requires.”

Johnson & Johnson is proud to support EGPAF in its commitment to end the burden of pediatric HIV and AIDS around the world. To learn more about EGPAF, visit www.pedaids.org. For more information about the role of an HIV/AIDS Care Nurse, visit DiscoverNursing.com.