When given effective antiretroviral treatment (ARVs), newborn babies of HIV+ mothers avoid developing HIV. If given throughout pregnancy, the chances of the child being infected is near zero. When given to the newborn within their first three months of life, they are 3/4 less likely to die from an AIDS-related disease.
In 2019, a close investigation revealed that only 21 percent of pregnant women living with HIV in Mali received effective antiretrovirals for prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV. According to the UNICEF Data Warehouse, this is also a dramatic drop from previous years where 25 percent and higher of HIV+ mothers received effective antiretrovirals.
It is in this gap where GAIA Vaccine Foundation steps in. In 2020, despite the additional logistical barriers of the COVID-19 pandemic and a coup d'état, the Chez Rosalie Mother-to-Child-Transmission Prevention program treated 1,352 HIV+ women. Of their newborns, zero tested positive for HIV.
Support the incredible work of the Chez Rosalie program today!
Jul 1, 2021
Empowering Community Care for Young Women
By Lucy Tian - GAIA VF Intern
Globally, an estimated 15 percent of young women give birth before age 18. Early childbearing and delivery during youth derail healthy development into adulthood. UNICEF reports that as of May 2021, among girls aged 15-19 globally, maternal conditions are among the top four causes of mortality and disabled life. Among the other top choices are communicable health and mental health conditions that have negative impacts on the health and education of girls. Socially, pregnant girls are pressured or forcibly dropped out of school, impacting their career prospects, quality of life, and that of their child. Social stigma surrounding early pregnancy also brings severe mental health consequences as the girls can lose their support system in their family, friends, and peers. The Teen Peer Education Program actively recruits the next generation of Malians into a peer mentoring program. 14 to 18-year-old adolescents and young adults are trained through an engaging, teen health education program that aims to address health issues faced by youth in Mali. They also aim to reduce stigmatization through community conversation.
The Chez Rosalie program at the GAIA Vaccine Foundation revealed that most of the new HIV infections in Bamako, Mali being reported were for teen mothers. Not only were teenagers at risk of unplanned pregnancy, but they were also at risk of acquiring HIV infection with their first pregnancy. The Teen Peer Education Program sparks conversation among youth to raise awareness about preventative sexual healthcare and the resources available.
Donate today to support this life changing work at GAIA Vaccine Foundation. Support the next generation of bright Malians!
Jul 1, 2021
Continuing The Work!
By Katia Ryan - GAIA VF Intern
GAIA Vaccine Foundation prides itself in having no babies born HIV positive at Hope Center Clinic. This is a moment to celebrate, but not a moment to pause the work done to get here. GAIA VF is able to offer this standard of care due to the combined effort of testing pregnant women, along with education programs, and access to care.
Unfortunately, there is an extremely limited quantity of COVID-19 vaccines available in Mali and the threat of the pandemic is still a major concern. This creates barriers in the access of testing, care, and also creating a higher risk of transmission. Now more than ever, we must continue to offer these services in new ways. A recent study conducted at our clinic included the use of Pratt Pouches for HIV positive pregnant women. This pouch contains a small dosage of antiretroviral drugs to deliver to newborn babies to prevent the transmission of HIV. The convenience of this pouch allows this medicine to be administered at home and contains a shelf life of 9-12 months. Unfortunately, this pouch is not yet widely available.
Your donation to the Born Free of HIV in West Africa campaign allows GAIA VF to continue to keep up the work we have seen truly impacts of the lives of those in the Sikoro community. A donation of $25 supports HIV testing for five women at our clinic. We believe there are the resources and technologies available to prevent all babies being born HIV free. Help us offer the solutions to keeping this true in Mali.