Children and HIV and AIDS

UNITE FOR CHILDREN UNITE AGAINST AIDS: Global Campaign is launched at UN Headquarters

UNICEF Image
© UNICEF/2005/Markisz
UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman and First Lady of Rwanda Jeannette Kagame at the launch of the Global Campaign on AIDS and Children with young participants of the campaign.

By Rachel Bonham Carter

NEW YORK, USA, 25 October 2005 – United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman and UNAIDS Executive Director Peter Piot today officially launched the global campaign UNITE FOR CHILDREN  UNITE AGAINST AIDS.

“It is a call for united action against an AIDS epidemic that is increasingly hurting children and young people,” said Mr. Annan. “Millions of children and young people are already affected by the pandemic – including those infected through the most heart-rending form of transmission: mother to child. The number is multiplying every day. Youth make up half of all new HIV infections worldwide, with a young person contracting the virus every 15 seconds.”

“The needs are urgent. The goals are ambitious. And with our collective effort, they are also reachable,” said Ms. Veneman, describing the four key result areas of the Campaign:

UNICEF Image
© UNICEF/2005/Toutounji
UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman talks at the launch of the Global Campaign on Children and AIDS.

- Prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV. By 2010, offer appropriate services to 80 per cent of women in need.

- Provide paediatric treatment. By 2010, provide either antiretroviral treatment or cotrimoxazole, or both, to 80 per cent of children in need.

- Prevent infection among adolescents and young people. By 2010, reduce the percentage of young people living with HIV by 25 per cent globally.

- Protect and support children affected by HIV/AIDS. By 2010, reach 80 per cent of children most in need of public support and services.

Speakers at the event

Dr. Piot discussed the ingredients needed for success: “This requires action on many fronts, such as abolishing school-user fees, rapidly expanding paediatric treatment for HIV-infected children, getting companies to implement ‘AIDS in the workplace’ programmes that protect families and children, and intensifying efforts to prevent infections among young people, particularly by empowering young girls.”

Five young people from around the world took the stage during the launch to tell of their own experiences of living with AIDS.

UNICEF Image
© UNICEF/2005/Toutounji
Ms. Nakwan Leknork, Ms Livey Van Wyk and Ms. Iryna Kalinichenko, young participants of the Global Campaign on Children and AIDS talk about their experiences of living with the virus at the campaign launch.

“For six years, my Dad’s illness and looming death [from AIDS] defined my life,” said 20-year-old Kerril McKay from Jamaica. “But because I was too afraid to reveal my ‘secret’, I was emotionally unprepared for the end. I couldn’t bear the thought of seeing or even hearing about his death... so I decided to kill myself first. Luckily, I reached out and found help. A kind woman from Jamaica AIDS Support kept me on the phone for hours and gave me the hope to go on.”

UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Sir Roger Moore took part in the launch and introduced the First Lady of Rwanda, Her Excellency Jeannette Kagame. Ms. Kagame spoke as an African mother and a member of the Organisation of African First Ladies against HIV/AIDS. She urged the international community to commit themselves to help young people affected by the epidemic: “This campaign is an alarm bell. I ask all those present today, and all those listening at campaign launches around the world, to commit themselves to ensuring that the next generation of children is HIV-free.”

UNICEF Image
© UNICEF/ HQ05-1509/Markisz
First Lady of Rwanda Jeannette Kagame speaks at the launch of the Global Campaign on Children and AIDS, at UNHQ.

Bill Roedy, President of MTV Networks International, spoke of the important role that media companies have to play in the fight against AIDS. “Media connects with almost everyone in the world. For media outlets like MTV, we have a particular connection to young people. We also have a potential audience of a billion young people. So for us, it’s not an option. We have to be engaged in this fight.”

The event came to a close with a performance by UNICEF Goodwill Ambassadors Faisal Kapadia and Bilal Masgood, who make up the Pakistani pop duo Strings.
 
Speaking after the event, Nane Annan, wife of Secretary-General Kofi Annan, said she was very moved by the presentations.

“We have to make sure that we care for children and that they do not die from AIDS and are prevented from getting AIDS. We must be there for them at every stage and make sure that they receive our love and our care.”


 

 

Video

25 October 2005:
UNICEF correspondent Rachel Bonham Carter reports on the launch of UNITE FOR CHILDREN  UNITE AGAINST AIDS at UN Headquarters in New York.

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The First Lady of Rwanda, Her Excellency Jeannette Kagame, addressed the audience during the launch of UNITE FOR CHILDREN  UNITE AGAINST AIDS at UN Headquarters on 25 October 2005

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