Clearly the highest priority of all is to limit the spread of HIV/AIDS and therefore reduce the number of children being deprived of their parents. Despite the grim advance of the disease worldwide, there are significant national successes in turning back the tide of the epidemic that can serve as models. Forthright national leadership, widespread public awareness and intensive prevention efforts, for instance, have made Uganda the pre-eminent example of sustained achievement, while comprehensive action in Thailand averted some 5 million HIV infections during the 1990s.
The World Health Organization, UNICEF and other partners are supporting the ‘3 by 5 Initiative’, which aims to ensure that 3 million people have access to antiretroviral treatment by the end of 2005. Antiretrovirals are also key to programmes to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS (PMTCT): Providing antiretroviral prophylaxis to pregnant women and to babies at birth can reduce the risk of transmission by half.
The 3 by 5 Initiative is currently supporting such programmes in 70 countries, five of which now have national coverage - Belarus, Botswana, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan and Ukraine. Brazil has successfully implemented antiretroviral treatment for children and adolescents as an integral part of its national treatment policy. In addition, UNICEF is working with the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, New York, and others to roll out ‘PMTCT Plus’, an initiative to not only prevent infection in newborn babies but also treat mothers and families living with HIV.
||Figure 4.6: Treatment is not reaching those who need it most.|
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