UNAIDS, UNICEF, and the World Health Organization (WHO) have entered a partnership to bridge the disparity gap in AIDS response globally and prevent new infant HIV infections.
Globally, only half (52 per cent) of children living with HIV are on life-saving treatment, far behind adults where three quarters (76 per cent) are receiving antiretrovirals, according to data released in the UNAIDS Global AIDS Update 2022.
The alliance will run for the next eight years until 2030, aiming to fix one of the most disparities in the AIDS response.
The new Global Alliance for Ending AIDS in Children was announced at the International AIDS Conference taking place in Montreal, Canada.
In addition to the United Nations agencies, the alliance 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.
12 countries have joined the alliance in the first phase: Angola, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR.C), Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
Consultations by the alliance have identified four pillars for collective action:
- Closing the treatment gap for pregnant and breastfeeding adolescent girls and women living with HIV and optimising continuity of treatment.
- Preventing and detecting new HIV infections among pregnant and breastfeeding adolescent girls and women.
- Accessible testing, optimised treatment, and comprehensive care for infants, children, and adolescents exposed to and living with HIV.
- Addressing rights, gender equality, and the social and structural barriers that hinder access to services.
“The wide gap in treatment coverage between children and adults is an outrage,” said UNAIDS Executive Director, Winnie Byanyima.
“Through this alliance, we will channel that outrage into action. By bringing together new improved medicines, new political commitment, and the determined activism of communities, we can be the generation who end AIDS in children.”
“Despite progress to reduce vertical transmission, increase testing and treatment, and expand access to information, children around the world are still far less likely than adults to have access to HIV prevention, care, and treatment services,” added UNICEF Executive Director, Catherine Russell.
“The launch of the Global Alliance to End AIDS in children is an important step forward – and UNICEF is committed to working alongside all of our partners to achieve an AIDS-free future.”
Dr. Osagie Ehanire, Minister of Health of Nigeria, announced that Nigeria will host the alliance’s political launch in Africa at a Ministerial meeting in October 2022.
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