When I was 22, my life was full of opportunity. I had recently moved to the U.S. from my home country of Tanzania to study journalism, and I was pregnant with my first child.
Then the unthinkable happened. At a routine prenatal check-up, I discovered I was HIV-positive.
I cried. I thought my unborn baby and I were going to die.
In Tanzania, AIDS was still seen as a death sentence.
But I was lucky. I was not in Tanzania. I was in the United States, where almost all mothers have access to the medicines they need to keep themselves healthy and their children HIV-free.
I gave birth to a strong, HIV-negative baby girl. But for many women living in Africa and around the world, this is not an option.
Urge Congress to support funding for critical HIV/AIDS programs and oppose cuts to foreign aid.
Only about half of HIV-positive mothers receive the medicines they need to survive, as well as protect their children from the disease.
U.S. commitment to HIV/AIDS programs is critical to changing this. America's support has transformed millions of lives for the better.
Last week, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced a new plan to create an AIDS-free generation, which would be "one of the greatest gifts the U.S. could give to our collective future."
But all of this momentum is at risk of being reversed.
Debate starts today in the Senate that could cut funding for foreign assistance programs, including those focused on HIV/AIDS, to drastically low levels.
This comes at exactly the wrong time.
Please tell Congress to support women and children living with HIV and AIDS around the world.
Together, we can eliminate pediatric AIDS.
Thanks for speaking out,
Ambassador for the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation