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For every child, end AIDS

Global commitments on children and HIV/AIDS

© UNICEF/ HQ04-0700/Pirozzi
Victoria, 11 months, sits in her crib, abandoned to institutional care as a result of AIDS, in the western port city of Kaliningrad.

UNICEF is mandated by the United Nations General Assembly to advocate for the protection of children's rights, to help meet their basic needs, and to expand their opportunities to reach their full potential. UNICEF is guided by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), and strives to establish children's rights as enduring ethical principles and international standards of behaviour towards children. The United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on HIV/AIDS sets out a series of national targets and global actions to reverse the epidemic. UN General Assembly Resolution 2016

HIV and AIDS remains a clear and specific focus area of UNICEF’s business plan—the 2014-2017 Medium Term Strategic Plan (MTSP). UNICEF's HIV programme is creating a plan to address children and HIV/AIDS in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We have two high level goals:

  1. Fast Track the HIV response by 2020 for pregnant women, mothers, children, and adolescents
  2. Build resilient government and community systems to decrease HIV service inequities among pregnant women, mothers, children, and adolescents and reduce gender, age, and socio-economic HIV-related vulnerabilities.

These high level goals are more closely related to SDG 3, 5, 10, and 16.

Our objectives and targets to meet our two high level goals for children and HIV/AIDS will be set at regional and country levels. The objectives and targets will vary by country but will align with the Start Free, Stay Free, AIDS Free Initiative and the UNAIDS 2016-2021 Strategy, On the Fast Track to End AIDS.

The Start Free, Stay Free, AIDS Free Initiative has the following benchmarks:

  • Start Free: Eliminate new HIV infections among children by reducing the number of children newly infected annually to less than 40,000 by 2018 and 20,000 by 2020; reach and sustain 95% of pregnant women living with HIV with lifelong HIV treatment by 2018.    
  • Stay Free: Reduce the number of new HIV infections among adolescents and young women to less than 100,000 by 2020; provide voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) for HIV prevention to 25 million additional men by 2020, including 11 million in the geographic areas of highest HIV burden, with a focus on men aged 15-29.
  • AIDS Free: Provide 1.6 million children aged 0-14 and 1.2 million adolescents aged 15-19 living with HIV with lifelong ART by 2020, and provide 1.4 million children aged 0-14 and 1 million adolescents aged 15-19 with lifelong HIV treatment by 2020.

The following areas from On the Fast Track to End AIDS will be addressed through UNICEF's HIV programme response:

  1. Reduce inequality in access to services and commodities (Result area 3)
  2. Achieve gender equality and empower women and girls (Result area 5)
  3. Promote just, peaceful, and inclusive societies (Result area 6)

Several global initiatives support synergies across the SDGs and also guide UNICEF’s HIV response:

  • All In: An initiative between UNICEF and UNAIDS to ending the AIDS epidemic among adolescents by 2030. A report on this initiative can be found here.
  • A Promise Renewed: An initiative that seeks to advance the United Nations Secretary-General’s Every Woman Every Child global movement by uniting a number of partners around the goal of ending preventable maternal and child deaths.
  • Campaign for Accelerated Reduction of Maternal Mortality in Africa (CARMMA): an initiative to intensify the implementation of the Maputo Plan of Action for the reduction of maternal mortality in the Africa region.
  • Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW): This convention was adopted in 1979 by the UN General Assembly, is often referred to as an international bill of rights for women.
  • Core Commitments for Children in Humanitarian Action (CCC): UNICEF’s central policy on how to uphold the rights of children affected by humanitarian crisis. An e-learning tool on the CCCs is available here.
  • Every Woman Every Child: A global movement, spearheaded by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, to mobilize and intensify global action to improve the health of women and children around the world. The movement uses the Global Strategy for Women's, Children's and Adolescents' Health to end preventable deaths and ensure the well-being of women, children, and adolescents within a generation.
  • H6 (formerly H4+): A partnership to support countries with the highest rates of maternal, newborn and child mortality, and to accelerate progress in saving the lives and improving the health of women and newborns. H6 includes UNFPA, UNICEF, the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Bank, UNAIDS, and UN Women.
  • International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD): At this conference, which took place in Cairo in 1994, delegates reached a consensus that equality and empowerment of women is a global priority, both in terms of universal human rights, and to eradicate poverty and stabilize population growth. ICPD Beyond 2014 is a United Nations initiative to review the ICPD Programme of Action.



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