In Malawi, 40,000 babies are born with HIV every year. Without any intervention, two-thirds of these children will not reach their first birthday. With the use of antiretrovirals, the transmission of HIV from mother to baby can be reduced, but many times the first step towards health is through the support of the community.
In 2003, I learned I was HIV-positive on a return visit to Zambia. In that moment I felt entirely hopeless as my mother had just recently passed away, too. I had the support of my family and those that I worked with, but no guarantee for my future. Would I, too, be part of the lost generation in Zambia?
Whether a woman is a mother today, or a mother to be, her health is paramount -- both for her own productivity and quality of life, and that of the next generation. One way that we can help to support women -- and their children -- is by ensuring that all mothers receive the essential health services they need, including for HIV.