Chewe Luo of UNICEF speaking the Wednesday plenary session.
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UNICEF has expressed its support for the provision of lifelong, potent HIV therapy to all pregnant women, regardless of their CD4 cell count.
UNICEF is emphasising the benefits of an emerging model for prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV. The World Health Organization’s ‘Option B+’ approach removes the use of a CD4 count threshold for eligibility for lifelong treatment, rather than just treatment during pregnancy and immediately after the birth.UNICEF's Executive Director Anthony Lake has endorsed this approach: “Of course every woman wants her baby to live, but every woman wants to live, and who should deny that right?”
In keeping with the conference theme of affordability and financing of initiatives, it was pointed out that – although Option B+ is more expensive than WHO’s other models – savings will be made with reduced transmission to male partners, and to babies in current and any future pregnancies.