Globally, only half of children living with HIV (52%) receive life-saving treatment. The Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS, UNICEF and the World Health Organization have brought together a new coalition to fix one of the most visible disparities in the AIDS response.
MONTREAL/GENEVA/NEW YORK, 1 August 2022 – Globally, only half (52%) of children living with HIV receive life-saving treatment, much less than adults with three quarters (76%) receiving antiretrovirals, According to data just released in the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS 2022 Update. Concerned that progress has stalled for children, and the gap between children and adults is widening, the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS, UNICEF and WHO Global Health and partners are forming a global coalition to ensure that no children alive with HIV are left without treatment by the end of the decade and to prevent new HIV infections in infants.
The new Global Alliance to End Childhood AIDS by 2030 was announced by eminent personalities at the International AIDS Conference being held in Montreal, Canada.
In addition to UN agencies, the coalition includes civil society movements, including the Global Network of People Living with HIV, national governments in the most affected countries, and international partners, including PEPFAR and the Global Fund. Twelve countries joined the coalition in the first phase: Angola, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Consultations conducted by the coalition identified four pillars of collective action:
- closing the treatment gap for pregnant and lactating adolescent girls and women living with HIV and improving treatment continuity;
- prevention and detection of new HIV infections among adolescent girls and pregnant and lactating women;
- accessible testing, optimal treatment, and comprehensive care for infants, children and adolescents exposed to and living with HIV;
- Addressing rights, gender equality, and social and structural barriers to accessing services.
Addressing the International AIDS Conference, Lymphu Ntiko from Lesotho shared how she found out she was HIV positive at age 21 while pregnant with her first child. This led her on a journey where she now works on the pioneering women’s-led “Mothers for Mothers” program. She emphasized that empowering community leadership is key to an effective response.
“We must all run together to end childhood AIDS by 2030,” said Ms. Ntiko. “To succeed, we need a healthy and enlightened generation of young people who feel free to speak up about HIV, and get the services and support they need to protect themselves and their children from HIV. Mothers 2 have achieved the virtual eradication of mother to-transmission From children’s HIV to our registered clients for eight consecutive years – showing what’s possible when we allow women and communities to create solutions tailored to their realities.”
The Alliance will continue over the next eight years until 2030, with the goal of redressing one of the most glaring disparities in the AIDS response. Alliance members are united in the belief that the challenge can be overcome through partnership.
“The wide gap in treatment coverage between children and adults is outrageous,” said Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of UNAIDS. “Through this alliance, we will channel that anger into action. By bringing together new improved medicines, new political commitment, and assertive community activism, we can be the generation that ends childhood AIDS. We can win this – but we can only win together” .
UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell said: “Despite progress in reducing vertical transmission, increasing screening and treatment, and expanding access to information, children around the world still have far less access than adults to HIV prevention, care and treatment services. Humanity”. . “The launch of the Global Alliance to End Childhood AIDS is an important step forward – and UNICEF is committed to working alongside all of our partners to achieve an AIDS-free future.”
“No child should be born or grow up with HIV, and no child with HIV should go untreated,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization. “The fact that only half of all children living with HIV receive antiretroviral drugs is a scandal and a stain on our collective conscience. The Global Alliance to End Childhood AIDS is an opportunity to renew our commitment to children and their families by uniting, speaking and acting with purpose and in solidarity with all mothers, children and adolescents. “.
Dr Osaji Ihaner, Nigeria’s Minister of Health, has pledged to “change the lives of children left behind” by putting in place the necessary systems to ensure health services meet the needs of children living with HIV.
Dr Ihaner announced that Nigeria will host the political launch of the Alliance in Africa at a ministerial meeting in October 2022.
About the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS
UNAIDS leads and inspires the world to achieve its shared vision of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination, and zero AIDS-related deaths. UNAIDS unites the efforts of 11 UN organizations – UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP, UNDP, UNFPA, UNODC, UN Women, ILO, And UNESCO, the World Health Organization, and the World Bank – working closely with global and national partners to end AIDS by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals. Learn more at unaids.org and connect with us on Facebook, Twitterand Instagram and YouTube.
UNICEF works in some of the world’s most difficult places to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. In more than 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for all. Follow UNICEF on Twitter and Facebook.
Dedicated to the well-being of all people and guided by science, WHO leads and advocates for global efforts to give everyone, everywhere, an equal chance at a safe and healthy life. We are the United Nations health agency that connects countries, partners and people on the front lines in more than 150 locations – leading the world’s response to health emergencies, preventing disease, tackling the root causes of health problems, and expanding access to medicines and health care. Our mission is to promote health, keep the world safe, and serve the vulnerable. Find out more at www.who.int and follow the World Health Organization at Twitterand Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok, Pinterest, Snapchat, YouTube and Twitch.
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