Children and HIV and AIDS

A call to action for ‘Children Left Behind’ in the wake of the AIDS epidemic

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© UNICEF/NYHQ2009-2112/Markisz
United States Ambassador to the United Nations Susan E. Rice spoke to a panel at the UN about remaining committed to the fight against AIDS.

By Amy Bennett

NEW YORK, USA, 1 December 2009 – On the eve of World AIDS Day, the Fourth Annual Stocktaking Report was launched at the United Nations Secretariat, followed by a panel convened on the issue of ‘Children Left Behind’.

Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations Susan E. Rice spoke to the panel about the ongoing commitment to the fight against AIDS, encouraging everyone to remain committed to helping children who have lost their parents to the epidemic and are at great risk.

“On World AIDS Day, the United States will stand together with our partners around the world, united in our determination to provide care, to provide treatment, and to provide hope,” Ms. Rice said.

Among those participating in the panel were UNICEF’s Chief of HIV/AIDS Jimmy Kolker; Director of Public-Private Partnerships, Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator British A. Robinson; President & CEO of the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS C. Virginia Fields; Regional Interagency Task Team on Children and HIV in South Africa Noreen Huni; AIDS orphan and physician from Uganda, Dr. Julian Atim; and Director of UNAIDS NY Office Bertil Lindblad.

Integrated care

Ms. Rice said President of the United States Barack Obama’s administration will continue the President's Emergency Program for AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR.

UNICEF Image
© UNICEF/NYHQ2009-2110/Markisz
President and CEO of the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS, C. Virginia Fields, speaks at a press conference to launch ‘Children and AIDS: Fourth Stocktaking Report 2009’.

“But we’re also working to build on PEPFAR’s success by crafting an integrated approach to global health for a world that is being knit closer together by the day,” she said.

The AIDS virus infects 33 million people globally, but more people are living longer due to the availability of drugs, according to ‘Children and AIDS: the Fourth Annual Stocktaking Report.’ However, more than half of the people who need these drugs are not getting them.

“We don’t require new technology breakthroughs or even new techniques that we don’t know how to apply,” said UNICEF Chief of HIV/AIDS and Associate Director of Programmes Jimmy Kolker. “It’s only a question of gains in coverage and then a much stronger emphasis on prevention.”

Renewed commitment to children

A renewed call to action is being issued by the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS (NBLCA), which urges continued attention on families and communities on the front line of the war on AIDS. Ten years ago on World AIDS Day, NBLCA, UNICEF and then First Lady of the United States Hillary Clinton set out the first ‘Call to Action’ for orphans affected by AIDS.

The President and CEO of the NBLCA C. Virginia Fields reminded the audience that every person and every group has a role to play in this fight. In caring for children tragically and traumatically affected by AIDS, “we must be their advocates, protectors, voices,” she said.

‘Children and AIDS: Fourth Stocktaking Report 2009’, jointly issued by UNICEF, the World Health Organization, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), brings together in one place data illustrating the impact of the HIV/AIDS epidemic on children and young people worldwide.  It reveals how far the world has come in addressing the epidemic, as well as how much more needs to be done.

There is also a Call to Action, which specifies an accelerated scale-up of services for mothers and children, early diagnosis and treatment for infants, and protection for those most vulnerable to crisis.

“Our goal isn’t just to put more children on treatment,” said Mr. Kolker. “Our goal is to eliminate the need for that treatment by seeing an AIDS-free generation.”


 

 

Video

30 November 2009:
Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations Susan E. Rice speaks about the commitments all nations must make to the fight against AIDS.
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UNICEF Chief of HIV/AIDS and Associate Director of Programmes Jimmy Kolker talks about the way forward to create an AIDS-free generation.
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