UN Goodwill Ambassador Victoria Beckham visited Kenya during the week of October 8 as part of her continued commitment to promote the elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (MTCT). Victoria brought her son, Brooklyn Beckham, age 17, to the country for the first time to take part in the mission, organized as part of a joint effort by UNAIDS and Born Free.
Amy Lockwood, chief of staff for the UCSF Global Health Sciences Global Health Delivery and Diplomacy, and Taylor Buonocore, president of Born Free, hosted the joint UNAIDS/Born Free Africa mission to Kenya. UCSF’s Global Health Delivery and Diplomacy in 2015 launched a strategic alliance with Born Free Africa to accelerate the elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
The Beckhams’ visit focused on preventing new HIV infections among newborn children and keeping their mothers healthy and the urgency of promoting HIV testing, prevention and treatment for young people, especially adolescent girls and young women.
During the mission, Victoria and Brooklyn Beckham traveled across the country visiting exciting projects that aim to reduce the effects of HIV in Kenya. They met with community and health workers to understand the challenges they face in their work and learned about their many successes. Victoria and Brooklyn spent time with children and talked to young people and adults living with or affected by HIV, hearing first-hand their personal stories and experiences of HIV.
Victoria and Brooklyn also met with members from UNAIDS, Born Free and government officials working to end AIDS.
Thanks to the efforts of groups advocating for education and resources, new infections globally have decreased by more than 50 percent since 2009, and the number of children infected with HIV in Kenya has decreased from 27,000 in 2009 to 6,600 in 2015, demonstrating that ending AIDS is possible. The first step to an HIV-free generation is the elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV.