Study of anti-AIDS vaginal ring begins in Africa

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People gather near the White House in Washington, Tuesday, July 24, 2012, during an AIDS demonstration, Tuesday, July 24, 2012, as the AIDS conference continued in Washington. (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari)

WASHINGTON (AP) — AIDS specialists are hearing a call to expand help for women far beyond a global focus on pregnancy.

Many countries have increased treatment of HIV-infected pregnant women to lower their chances of infecting their babies.

But UNICEF's Dr. Chewe Luo says most countries don't automatically continue anti-AIDS drugs for those women after their babies are weaned — important for keeping them healthy long-term. She praised Malawi for starting to do just that.

And she said adolescent girls — the 10- to 18-year-olds — are too often ignored by global HIV testing, prevention and treatment programs. Without protecting them, she says, all the investment for healthy babies was for nothing.