Brighter Birthdays for Children Living with HIV

By Holly Rosen Fink

November 4, 2016

We want to wish a very warm, happy birthday to mothers2Mothers (m2m), a global nonprofit recognized by the United Nations for its mission to eliminate pediatric AIDS and promote healthy motherhood.

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When m2m began their work 15 years ago, who would have known they would save 1.5 million HIV-positive mothers and children’s lives including this little girl, Slindile? At the time, 1,500 babies were infected with HIV everyday globally, the vast majority in sub-Saharan Africa. Nearly all these children acquired HIV from their mothers during pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding. Approximately half of them were dying before the age of two if their HIV infection went untreated.

Too many lives were being lost, but m2m believed that every child deserves a birthday. So they employed five HIV-positive mentor mothers at their home base in South Africa. The mentors provided essential health education and peer support to HIV-positive pregnant women and new mothers to help them access effective and inexpensive medical interventions to prevent the transmission of HIV to their babies and keep themselves alive.

Slindile’s mother was one of these mothers. She was provided with health education and support to access lifesaving medication. Today both mother and child are healthy and thriving.

Because of these examples of life-saving success, today m2m employs more than

1,700 mentor mothers and works in hundreds of understaffed health clinics and communities in seven sub-Saharan African countries. Last year they provided services to 860,500 women, children, adolescents, and men. Mother-to-child transmission of HIV has virtually been eliminated for the second year in a row amongst m2m’s clients. Transmission rates are significantly lower than national rates.

To celebrate, m2m recently launched the Every Child Deserves a Birthday campaign to celebrate their role in creating brighter tomorrows for HIV-positive mothers and their children in sub-Saharan Africa. When you donate your next birthday,  or your child’s birthday, you support the elimination of pediatric AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa.  It’s an opportunity for mothers around the world to connect, support, and empower each other as a force to better society through celebration and dedication of birthdays to care for fellow mothers and children.

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