International AIDS Society

Bénin Aims to Stop New HIV Infections in Infants By 2015

Author: Mark Mascolini

28 February 2012

Bénin launched a plan to eliminate new HIV infections in infants by 2015 and to improve maternal health, according to a press release from UNAIDS.

In partnership with UNAIDS, UNICEF, WHO, and other groups, Bénin signed on to the global plan to stop new infections in infants and to keep their mothers alive.

The West African country has about 62,000 people with HIV to yield a prevalence of 1.2% among 15- to 49-year-olds. Women account for 32,000 of Bénin’s HIV infections, UNAIDS estimates, and 5400 children up to 14 years old have HIV infection.

From 2004 through 2011, Bénin expanded the number of health facilities offering services to prevent HIV infection in children from 204 to 450. Still, only 49% of pregnant women eligible for HIV services in Bénin receive those services.

The new plan aims to coordinate care and prevention services for children and women by (1) ensuring maternal access to comprehensive services in all maternity hospitals to prevent HIV in children, (2) providing antiretroviral therapy for all pregnant women eligible for treatment, (3) expanding access to HIV voluntary counseling and testing, (4) improving access to male and female condoms, especially among young people, and (5) launching public advocacy campaigns.

Bénin’s new program has three primary goals for 2012 through 2015:

• 90% decline in new HIV infections in children
• 90% decline in AIDS deaths in children
• 50% decline in AIDS deaths in mothers through 1 year after delivery

According to Bénin’s Minister of Health, Dorothée Kindé-Gazard, the new initiative “will make it possible to harmonize services that prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV throughout the country and to better coordinate the interventions.”

Source: UNAIDS press release. Bénin launches national plan to prevent new HIV infections among children. 20 February 2012.

For the UNAIDS press release