On December 13, 2011, the UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board
commenced a two day conference formed to address the issue of HIV transmission, and to create new strategic policies to improve the effectiveness of the organization.
To ensure the success of the UNAIDS end-goal, Israel has financially sponsored a qualitative rapid assessment that aims to better understand the gender related barriers faced by women living with HIV when it comes to treatment. Providing $100,000 to the project, the assessment will be headed by Israeli health-consultant Dr. Anita Nudelman. A specialist on sexual health and AIDS prevention, Dr. Nudelman's expertise will be invaluable in guaranteeing positive, tangible results from this assessment.
On December 14, Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs representative Marina Rosenberg delivered a statement at the UNAIDS conference in Geneva to inform the Coordinating Board of Israel's unwavering commitment to the complete elimination of HIV, and efforts in stopping the vertical transmission of the disease. Solidifying the Foreign Ministry's position on the issue, Rosenberg stated: "Israel takes pride in sponsoring this assessment and hope that it is the first stage in a longer process that will bring us closer to the realization of our common vision of: 'Zero HIV Infections, Zero Discrimination, and Zero AIDS'.
Background: The UNAIDS Board is guided by 22 governments, UNAIDS Cosponsors, and five representatives of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), including associations of people living with HIV.
According to UNAIDS data in 2009, an estimated 370,000 infants were infected with HIV through vertical transmission despite potential interventions being in place. Given this phenomenon, UNAIDS in tandem with its partners developed an action plan to prevent mother-to-child transmission. Named "Countdown to Zero: Global Plan Towards the Elimination of New HIV infection among Children by 2015 and Keeping their Mothers Alive," this new strategy has become the mantra of UNAIDS.
There is a concern that gender related barriers-to-access are increasing as only 53% of all pregnant women living with HIV in low and middle-income countries have accessed antiretroviral medication to prevent vertical transmission of HIV. This evaluation has the capability to identify the source of the problem, affording UNAIDS PCB the opportunity to establish new strategy that will advance the UNAIDS mandate.