International Organizations Agree to Take Concerted Action to End Pediatric HIV/AIDSBy Global Aids Alliance, PRNE
Sunday, July 18, 2010
"No child should enter this world infected with HIV."
VIENNA, July 19, 2010 - A global alliance of international organizations, including the heads of
UNICEF, UNAIDS and The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria as
well as other NGOs including the Pan African Treatment Access Movement,
Health GAP, Ugandan Pediatric Association and the Global AIDS Alliance today
agreed to take concerted action to eliminate pediatric HIV/AIDS over the next
five years, preventing nearly 400,000 children annually from beginning their
lives infected with the virus that causes AIDS.
"Every day, almost 1,000 babies are infected with HIV - and without
diagnosis and treatment, half of these babies will not live to see their
second birthdays," said Anthony Lake, UNICEF Executive Director. "If we are
committed to saving children's lives, we must be committed to the effective
elimination of mother to child transmission of HIV."
Currently, in resource poor settings, over 2 million children less than
15 years of age are living with HIV/AIDS around the world. In 2008, less than
half of all pregnant HIV positive women received drugs for prevention of
parent-to-newborn transmission. By scaling up this intervention,
parent-to-newborn transmission could be reduced to fewer than 5%.
"In 2009 I called for the virtual elimination of mother to child
transmission of HIV. This is the route to eliminating pediatric AIDS," said
Mr. Michel Sidibe, UNAIDS Executive Director. "In addition, children living
with HIV must have a secure future and have full access to HIV prevention,
treatment, care and support services."
Many groups are already working intensively on pediatric AIDS. However,
it is essential that the international community overcome bottlenecks and
ensure that the necessary resources are available to fund the interventions
needed to prevent, treat, and care for children with HIV/AIDS.
"The Global Fund is committed to improving the quality of programs to
prevent transmission of HIV from mother to child so that no child is born
with HIV by 2015 and so that the health of HIV-positive women is
prioritized," says Michel Kazatchkine, Executive Director of the Global Fund
to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. "ARV regimens being offered to
pregnant women, newborns and families must be optimal and accessible;
resources for HIV transmission prevention and pediatric AIDS must be
increased and current funding in this area must be used effectively and
efficiently. We can reach the goal of an HIV-free generation by 2015, but not
unless we continue to invest resources."
A new status report on ending pediatric HIV/AIDS was also released today
by the Global AIDS Alliance's Campaign to End Pediatric AIDS (CEPA). The
report provides evidence of how intensified efforts to reduce pediatric
HIV/AIDS globally and in six key countries in sub-Saharan Africa (Kenya,
Mozambique, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia) are succeeding.
"Children in Africa are living with this debilitating disease and dying
needlessly-and this is both a tragedy and an outrage," said Graca Machel,
Chairperson of the CEPA Leadership Council. "How can we stand back and watch
the suffering of our children when we know that the world has the necessary
means — medical, financial, intellectual– to end the destruction that is
pediatric HIV and AIDS?"
The report highlights how, in the past year, a new approach to HIV/AIDS
involving local stakeholders in sub-Saharan African countries has accelerated
efforts to overcome bottlenecks to going to scale with pediatric HIV/AIDS
prevention and treatment services. Children's lives can be saved by reaching
80% coverage of comprehensive programs to prevent parent-to-child
transmission (PPTCT+) and provide lifesaving HIV/AIDS medicines to children
already HIV infected.
Pediatric HIV/AIDS has been virtually eliminated in the global North. The
heads of UNICEF, UNAIDS and the Global Fund agreed to take every necessary
action–as a collective joint force–to overcome seven critical bottlenecks
blocking progress to end pediatric HIV/AIDS by December 31, 2015: Advancing
family centered care and nutrition; accelerating early infant diagnosis &
treatment; ensuring access to appropriate medicines and commodities; meeting
financial requirements; mobilizing political and programmatic action;
overcoming human resources crisis; and overcoming stigma and discrimination.
To date, the Agreement has been signed by Mr. Anthony Lake, Executive
Director of UNICEF, Mr. Michel Sidibe, Executive Director of UNAIDS, and
Professor Michel Kazatchkine, Executive Director of the Global Fund to Fight
AIDS, Tuberculosis, & Malaria, as well as the following global leaders: Mrs.
Graca Machel, Chairperson, Leadership Council, Campaign to End Pediatric
HIV/AIDS (CEPA); Ms. Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, Global Ambassador, Born HIV Free
Campaign; His Excellency, and Mr. Festus G. Mogae, Founder, Champions for an
The agency heads are also calling on other global leaders to commit to
taking this action.
This announcement was made in conjunction with a press conference at the
18th International AIDS Conference in Vienna. In addition to the heads of
UNICEF, UNAIDS, and the Global Fund, the press conference featured Rolake
Odetoyinbo, Civil Society Leadership Representative, CEPA Action Team, and
Dr. Elly Katabira, President-Elect, International AIDS Society. The next
International AIDS Conference will take place in Washington D.C. in July of
Jove Oliver of Global AIDS Alliance, +1-646-373-4702, jove.oliver at gmail.com; or Kate Donovan of UNICEF New York, +43-699-195-405-08, or +1-917-378-2128, kdonovan at unicef.org
Tags: Africa, Global AIDS Alliance, July 19, vienna, Western Europe