Global diagnostic device and service provider Alere recently reiterated its commitment to support the Organization of African First Ladies against HIV/AIDS (OAFLA) in the fight against HIV.
OAFLA is an alliance of African First Ladies that was established to check HIV transmission. It is a collective voice for Africa’s most vulnerable people, women and children infected and affected by the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Alere has expanded support to the Organization’s efforts to reduce the impact of HIV/AIDS in Africa by eliminating mother-to-child transmission of HIV and increasing early infant diagnosis (EID). Mother to Child Transmission (MTCT) occurs through pregnancy, labor, delivery and, most significantly, through breastfeeding, says Alere’s press release.
UNAIDS reports that every year, globally, an estimated 1.4 million women living with HIV become pregnant. Untreated, they have a 15-45% chance of transmitting the virus to their children. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), every year, about 370,000 babies are born with HIV, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa. Untreated, more than half of these children will die before the age of 2. Another key cause of infant mortality is untreated maternal syphilis. These deaths can be prevented through routine detection and treatment during antenatal care. This is where Alere is providing invaluable support.
Known for its advanced clinical chemistry systems and rapid HIV screening, Alere has always been in the forefront of HIV prevention strategy. The company enhanced its initial commitment to fight HIV at a high-level event convened by OAFLA during the 70th UN General Assembly. Earlier in September 2014, Alere had provided test kits to help OAFLA screen 200,000 people for HIV and syphilis infections. By expanding its initial commitment, the company will help OAFLA reach an additional 500,000 pregnant women as well as infants, adolescents and other at-risk populations in Africa with screening and prevention services.
“We are honored to provide affordable, point-of-care diagnostics spanning the HIV continuum of care to support OAFLA’s efforts to end mother-to-child HIV infections, as well as to identify HIV-infected infants and link them to lifesaving treatment,” says Namal Nawana, CEO and President, Alere. “At Alere, we believe that ‘Knowing now matters™’ when it comes to diagnosing HIV. Our partnership with OAFLA is crucial toward achieving this vision by helping more people know their HIV status and linking infected individuals of all ages to care.”