World’s response to children with AIDS ‘tragically insufficient’: UN

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Millions of children remain at risk from HIV/AIDS and the world’s response to their plight remains “tragically insufficient”, a UN report has warned.


Millions of children remain at risk from HIV/AIDS and the world’s response to
their plight remains “tragically insufficient”, a UN report has warned.

The report by UNAIDS, the UN’s children’s fund (UNICEF), and the World Health
Organisation was released on the first anniversary of the “Unite for Children,
Unite against AIDS” programme, which set targets to deal with AIDS in children.

It said there are some signs that attitudes and policies are starting to change.

About 2.3 million children under 15 are infected with HIV, 15.2 million children
under 18 have lost one or both parents to AIDS, and millions more have been made
vulnerable, according to the report.

“In the year since (the programme was launched), the world’s response to protect
and support AIDS-affected children remains tragically insufficient. But in important
and positive ways, that is beginning to change,” it said.

The agencies estimate that 30 billion dollars (23 billion euros) are required
to address the “four P’s” of their strategy: preventing mother-to-child transmission
of HIV; providing paediatric treatment; preventing infection among adolescents
and young people; and protecting and supporting children affected by HIV/AIDS.

The programme is aiming to offer appropriate services to 80 percent of HIV-infected
mothers by 2010, as well as antiretroviral treatment or antibiotic treatment to
80 percent of children in need.

It is targeting a 25 percent cut in the percentage of young people living with
HIV within three years.

“Over the past year, there has been a broad, growing recognition of the need
to intensify and accelerate action towards universal access to comprehensive prevention,
treatment, care and support,” the report said.

It called on more governments to follow the example of Britain, Ireland and the
US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, and to earmark at least 10 percent
of their AIDS funding for children and adolescents.

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