Key messages and communications
Q.40 How to communicate the concept of HIV-free survival as the top priority rather than just avoiding HIV transmission?
The term HIV-free survival highlights that children should not only remain HIV uninfected but also survive. Sometimes discussion has focussed solely on the avoidance of HIV infection in infants and interventions to achieve this. These well-intentioned efforts may have put children at risk of other causes of death, such as diarrhoea or malnutrition that are associated with not breastfeeding. Yet, because these risks and outcomes are so closely linked, it is essential to see both outcomes - avoiding HIV and surviving -as equally important. Conveying this is important at all levels including for communities, programme managers, mothers, health workers, policy makers, funders, civil society and other advocates. It requires careful and simple explanations - probably many times over. Unless HIV-free survival is the target which everyone aims for together, the full needs of infants and children will not be met.