Tuesday, 14 September 2010

The ONE Baby ... problem

ONE has a new campaign out: The ONE baby protest - no child born with HIV by 2015. I applaud the spirit. Preventing HIV is important. I'm just not sure how they're going to do it.

This is the text of their blog-campaign announcement:

Today over 1,000 children will be born with HIV. It’s a devastating number, yet what’s even more shocking is that this can easily be prevented through simple treatment. Together we can make this happen. By 2015 we can deliver the medicines so that no child is born with HIV. Babies born with HIV can’t speak up for themselves, so join me in speaking up on their behalf as part of the ONE Baby Protest.

Petition Text:

Dear World Leaders,

By 2015 we can make sure no child is born with HIV. It all starts with an agreement at the United Nations summit to combat extreme poverty, with every country doing their bit. Please do yours.

Two solutions suggested here: medicine that stops babies being born HIV positive and an end to extreme poverty. I assume the medicines would be nevirapine and the like? While it's great that people are campaigning for improved PMTCT, this isn't 100%. Even if these meds were supplied to every HIV positive pregnant woman in the world, it wouldn't stop some babies being born HIV-positive. And I hate to rain on the parade some more, but removing extreme poverty also doesn't remove HIV - treatment but not cure.

Perhaps I'm being overly negative, but short of preventing HIV-positive parents from having children at all - which I'm guessing ONE is not advocating - I fail to see how they expect World Leaders (or anyone else for that matter) to achieve this outcome of 'no child born with HIV'.

Campaign for better maternal health care, campaign for PMTCT, but it's not responsible or reasonable to demand no HIV-positive babies if it's simply not scientifically do-able. Simplifying may get more people to sign your petition but a pointless petition is pointless no matter how many signatures you have.

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