Elizabeth Glaser contracts HIV through a blood transfusion during childbirth. Elizabeth and her husband, Paul Glaser, later learn that she unknowingly passed the virus to her children, Ariel and Jake.
The Pediatric AIDS Foundation is created by Elizabeth and her two friends, Susie Zeegen and Susan DeLaurentis, after Ariel loses her battle with AIDS at age 7.
Elizabeth and Paul Glaser ask the U.S. Congress to provide funding to test HIV drugs in children. While AZT, a promising drug treatment, had already been approved by the FDA, its potential impact on children was still unknown due to a lack of research. This, in addition to the Glasers' early wins at securing research funding, set the stage for the Foundation's global leadership in research.
Professional basketball player Earvin “Magic” Johnson announces he has HIV and retires from the NBA. He credits Elizabeth Glaser with giving him the courage to speak out.
Elizabeth Glaser passes away from AIDS-related illnesses. The Foundation is renamed in her memory and rededicates itself to eliminating HIV and AIDS. Almost twenty years later, pediatric AIDS is virtually eliminated in the United States and Elizabeth's legacy lives on in those who are fighting to eliminate this disease around the world.
As a global “go-to” leader, the Foundation committed to achieving the same results in the rest of the world with the Call to Action (CTA) project, supporting successful prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT) services in Cameroon, Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa, Thailand, and Uganda. By 2010, CTA had enabled the Foundation to reach nearly 4 million women with PMTCT services.
The Foundation initiates Project HEART, a public-private partnership to expand access to HIV care and treatment programs in Cote d’Ivoire, South Africa, Tanzania, and Zambia. Project HEART’s original goal was to reach 2 million people with antiretroviral therapy by 2008. The Foundation far surpassed that goal and continues its work in these countries, as well as 12 others around the world.
The Foundation helps renew the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), authorizing $48 billion in global health programs. Initially launched in 2003, PEPFAR revolutionized funding for AIDS programs and allowed the Foundation’s global work and reach to expand dramatically.
The Foundation remains committed to the elimination of pediatric AIDS, working in 16 of the most severely affected countries and more than 5,500 sites around the world. The Foundation has reached nearly 12.2 million women with PMTCT services. Nearly a quarter of all HIV-positive pregnant women worldwide who receive medicines to prevent transmission of HIV to their babies do so through Foundation-supported programs. Still, an urgent need remains. Only 52% of HIV-positive mothers-to-be have access to critical PMTCT services.
2015 marks the goal of ending pediatric AIDS in Zimbabwe, Lesotho, and Swaziland. Announced in 2011, these campaigns notably recognize the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation as a leading implementation partner that will be integral to reaching this milestone.
Jake Glaser was not even two years old when he was diagnosed HIV-positive in 1986. His mother, Elizabeth Glaser, had contracted the virus five years earlier through a contaminated blood transfusion. She unknowingly passed the virus to Jake while pregnant and to his older sister, Ariel, through her breast milk. Today, Jake is 26 years old and healthy. "Thanks to my mom and the work of many others, I am able to lead a normal and productive life," he says. Elizabeth's relentless advocacy made sure that Jake - and other children living with HIV - could have access to lifesaving pediatric HIV treatments and medicines. "But," Jake says, "the truth is there are still so many kids, many of them my close friends, who are not as lucky. The truth is we are far from done in the fight against AIDS, and there are a lot of kids out there who need our help in order to survive."
Dr. Kassaye was an adolescent when the first cases of HIV were diagnosed in her native Ethiopia. She saw the toll the growing epidemic took on friends and loved ones firsthand.“Everyone knew someone who was affected,” she says. “There was a lot of fear and sadness.”Those experiences stayed with Dr. Kassaye after she moved tothe U.S. for college and medical school. “I wanted to focus on research that directly supports HIV/AIDS program implementation,”she says. “I wanted to bring innovations into practice.” Dr. Kassaye’s work at the Foundation allows her to do just that. She works on operations and clinical research, collaborating with staff in the field to identify and solve challenges in the implementation of health programs and to research new tools and technologies that will mean better health for babies and mother around the world. Dr. Kassaye also works in a low-income health clinic in Washington, D.C., a city with one of the highest rates of HIV infection in the U.S. As a mother, this work is especially important to Dr. Kassaye. “I see young pregnant women, and I enjoy working with them one-on-one. I will do anything to make sure their babies are born healthy. To me, even one baby born with HIV is a failure.”
In September 1996, Florence gave birth to her daughter Nomthunzi. Three months later, Florence’s husband died, and Nomthunzi had become ill. Fearing the worst, Florence took Nomthunzi to a local hospital. Both she and Florence tested positive for HIV. Nomthunzi fought the disease for several more weeks, but because antiretroviral treatment was not yet available for children in South Africa, she passed away in February 1997. A few years later, Florence was introduced to the lifesaving treatments and services being offered by clinics supported by the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. Finding “the Foundation, for me, was a highlight of my life,” she says. “I knew that for the first time, there was someone who cared.” Through Foundation-supported prevention of mother-to-child transmission treatments, Florence gave birth to an HIV negative baby. Today, four-year-old Alex remains HIV-free and continues to thrive. Florence is healthy as well, pursuing her degree and speaking out on behalf of women and children with AIDS as a Foundation Ambassador.