INTERNATIONAL NEWS | Global AIDS Coordinator Goosby Discusses Slowing Spread of Disease Among Pregnant Women
[June 26, 2009]
Eric Goosby, U.S. global AIDS coordinator and administrator of the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief
, said that slowing the spread of HIV among pregnant women is one of his top priorities, the San Francisco Chronicle
reports. In an interview with the Chronicle
, Goosby said he also plans to focus U.S. global efforts on education and prevention, as well as convincing other nations to increase their involvement in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Although Goosby stressed the importance of indentifying people who could benefit from antiretroviral drugs, he added that "[w]e're not going to be able to treat ourselves out of the epidemic, and prevention efforts will need to be continued and increased." He continued, "We also need to look for concentration of patients who have a higher probability of HIV infection, such as pregnant women -- getting them tested, getting them on antiretrovirals, which will prevent transmission to the fetus." Goosby estimated that only around 35% of pregnant women who are HIV positive and could benefit from antiretrovirals receive the drugs.
Goosby also praised the efforts of PEPFAR, which was established six years ago under former President George W. Bush. However, he said that more work must be done and that the disease is not controlled. Sub-Saharan Africa, where about 23 million people are living with HIV, "is clearly the epicenter on the planet of this epidemic," Goosby said. He also noted that HIV/AIDS has begun to spread more rapidly among certain populations in Russia, Ukraine, China and Southeast Asia (Doyle, San Francisco Chronicle