UNICEF and UNAIDS Launch Global Campaign to Invigorate Action for the Millions of Children Affected by HIV/AIDS
NEW YORK, 25 October 2005 – UNICEF, UNAIDS and other partners today launched a global campaign focusing on the enormous impact of HIV/AIDS on children, saying it was a disgrace that fewer than 5 per cent of HIV-positive children receive treatment and that millions of children who have lost parents to the disease go without support.
UNICEF said that children affected by the disease are the “missing face” of AIDS – missing not only from global and national policy discussions on HIV/AIDS, but also lacking access to even the most basic care and prevention services. Millions of children are missing parents, siblings, schooling, health care, basic protection and many of the other fundamentals of childhood because of the toll the disease is taking, the two UN institutions said.
Launching the global campaign – Unite for Children, Unite Against AIDS – at the United Nations with Secretary-General Kofi Annan, UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman and UNAIDS Executive Director Peter Piot noted that every minute:
In addition, an estimated 15 million children have lost at least one parent because of AIDS. Yet less than 10 percent of children orphaned and made vulnerable by AIDS receive public support or services. In sub-Saharan Africa, where the impact is greatest, coping systems are stretched to the limit.
“Nearly 25 years into the pandemic, help is reaching less than 10 percent of the children affected by HIV/AIDS, leaving too many children to grow up alone, grow up too fast or not grow up at all,” Secretary-General Annan said. “Simply put, AIDS is wreaking havoc on childhood.”
Veneman said that in some of the hardest-hit countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, the AIDS pandemic is “unravelling years of progress for children.” She noted that concrete measures to address the impact of AIDS on children would be essential to meeting the Millennium Development Goals.
“In the past quarter-century, HIV/AIDS has claimed the lives of more than 20 million people and lowered average life expectancy in the hardest-hit countries by as much as 30 years,” Veneman said. “A whole generation has never known a world free of HIV and AIDS, yet the magnitude of the problem dwarfs the scale of the response so far.”
The global campaign aims to achieve measurable progress for children based on internationally agreed goals in four key result areas:
UNICEF said that children must be at the forefront of the fight against AIDS. According to UNAIDS, $55 billion will be needed over the next three years, $22 billion in 2008 alone, to confront the AIDS pandemic. There is currently a funding gap of at least $18 billion from
2005-2007. Not only does AIDS funding need to increase dramatically, but a significant portion should be specifically targeted for children affected by the disease.
The two organizations welcomed the commitment of a number of governments to prioritize children affected by HIV/AIDS by allocating funding to children.
“AIDS continues to tear apart families and communities, leaving behind 15 million orphans and robbing countries of their future,” said UNAIDS Executive Director Peter Piot. “If countries are to develop, we must put children first. Children must therefore be a major priority when it comes to the way we allocate and use resources.”
National leaders participating in events to launch the campaign around the world include the Presidents of India, El Salvador, Brazil, Mozambique and Djibouti; the Prime Ministers of the Netherlands, Ireland and Trinidad and Tobago; and the Foreign Minister of Australia.
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For nearly 60 years UNICEF has been the world’s leader for children, working on the ground in 157 countries to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for poor countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.
For further information, please contact:
Alfred Ironside, UNICEF Media / New York: (+1 212) 326 7261
Oliver Phillips, UNICEF Media / New York (+1212) 326 7583
Susan Lagana, UNICEF Media / New York: (+1212) 326 7516
Kate Donovan, UNICEF Media / New York: (+1 212) 326 7452
LIVE Video Feed to Broadcasters: A live video feed of the launch event from 1000-1100 EST
(1400-1500 GMT) will be available from UNTV (Tel: +1 212 963 7650) and APTN Direct
(Tel: +44 207 482 7733).
Attention broadcasters: UNICEF offers news and feature video from countries worldwide at www.thenewsmarket.com/unicef
Everything you need to know about the campaign at
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.
Click here for speeches by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman, and AIDS peer educator Livey van Wyk.
HIV/AIDS campaign links