Allan Rosenfield, dean of the Mailman School of Public Health, will be participating in a special consultation on orphans and AIDS in Africa to be held on September 9-10 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Nelson Mandela, former President of South Africa, Graca Machel, a leading international human rights activist, and Carol Bellamy, executive director of UNICEF, have organized this consultative meeting of 30-35 leading international experts to discuss responses to the rapidly expanding crisis of AIDS orphans in sub-Saharan Africa. It is estimated that there are currently more than 12 million orphans in the region, with their numbers dramatically increasing. According to UNAIDS, South Africa alone will have a population of 1.5 million such orphans by the year 2010. Among a broad range of issues, Rosenfield will discuss the importance of providing HIV/AIDS care and treatment to families in the hardest-hit countries as a means of reducing the number of orphans in the future.
One program that will provide such services is the MTCT-Plus Initiative, a new program of the Mailman School. MTCT-Plus provides comprehensive care and treatment for HIV infected women, their children and partners who are also HIV infected. Through linkage to established programs for the prevention of HIV mother-to-child transmission (MTCT), MTCT-Plus will provide the opportunity for family members to live longer, thereby easing the individual, social, and economic consequences associated with orphanhood. In July 2002, the Initiative announced its first round of grants for HIV care and treatment, including antiretroviral therapy, at 40 sites in eight African and Asian countries.