Alere (NYSE: ALR), a global leader in rapid diagnostics, today doubled its commitment to the Organisation of African First Ladies Against HIV/AIDS (OAFLA) in its efforts to reduce the impact of HIV/AIDS in Africa by eliminating mother-to-child transmission of HIV and increasing early infant diagnosis (EID).
Since September 2014, Alere has donated 200,000 HIV/Syphilis Duo rapid tests to support OAFLA's efforts to reduce mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis. Today, at a high-level event convened by OAFLA during the 70th UN General Assembly, Alere more than doubled its initial commitment to assist OAFLA and their partners reach an additional 500,000 pregnant women, infants, adolescents and other at-risk populations in Africa with screening and prevention services.
"OAFLA is committed to addressing the unfinished business of the Millennium Development Goals both in terms of advocacy and program delivery, and this can be achieved only through partnerships with governments, NGOs, the private sector and other stakeholders," said Her Excellency, Dr. Nana Lordina Dramani Mahama, First Lady of the Republic of Ghana and OAFLA President. "Alere has already provided test kits to help us screen 200,000 people for HIV and syphilis infections, and we are delighted that this productive relationship continues to grow and thrive."
"We are honoured to provide affordable, point-of-care diagnostics spanning the HIV continuum of care to support OAFLA's efforts to end mother-to-child HIV infections, as well as to identify HIV-infected infants and link them to lifesaving treatment," said Namal Nawana, CEO and President, Alere. "At Alere, we believe that 'Knowing now matters™' when it comes to diagnosing HIV. Our partnership with OAFLA is crucial toward achieving this vision by helping more people know their HIV status and linking infected individuals of all ages to care."
HIV/AIDS among African Women, Children and Infants
Globally, almost 1.5 million pregnant women are HIV infected. In sub-Saharan Africa, 260,000 African children are infected with HIV each year. Mother to Child Transmission (MTCT) occurs through pregnancy, labor, delivery and breast feeding. In fact, breast-feeding alone increases the risk of MTCT by 12%-43%.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has called for the elimination of maternal-to-child transmission (MTCT) of HIV to urgently improve health outcomes for mothers and children.
Forty percent of pregnant women living with HIV have not received anti-retrovirals to reduce MTCT during pregnancy. Without any intervention, up to 45% of infants born to mothers living with HIV will become infected. Early infant diagnosis (EID) and linkage to HIV treatment are key to keeping children with HIV alive and healthy, yet EID coverage remains at less than 20% in almost half of the priority Global Plan countries. Young adolescent girls are one of the most vulnerable groups across the high-priority countries with less than 40% of adolescents knowing their HIV status.