in preventing HIV transmission from pregnant mothers to
their babies, more than 1,000 children around the world were
infected with the virus each day in 2006, according to
a United Nations report.
African countries--such as Namibia, Swaziland, South
Africa, and Rwanda--greatly increased access to
treatment for vulnerable mothers between 2004 and
2005, according to the report, issued Tuesday by
the New York-based U.N. Children's Fund.
410,000 to 660,000 children under the age of 15 were
infected with the disease last year--mostly during or
immediately after birth--the report said. Half
of them will die of AIDS-related diseases within two
years if they do not receive appropriate medical treatment.
countries are on track to meet the target of providing
access to treatment for 80% of women in need by 2010,
UNICEF spokesman Patrick McCormick said. These
countries are Argentina, Brazil, Botswana, Jamaica,
Russia, Thailand, and Ukraine.
Overall, only 9%
of HIV-infected pregnant women in middle- to low-income
countries were receiving antiretroviral drugs to reduce the
risk of mother-to-child transmission, the report said.
UNICEF said early
diagnosis and treatment with cost-effective drugs were
crucial to achieving a turnaround in the AIDS epidemic,
which claims about 2.9 million lives worldwide each
year, including some 380,000 children. (AP)