|© UNICEF/ HQ06-1323/Versiani|
|Children dance in the playroom at GAPA (AIDS Prevention and Support Group) in Brazil, where many are being treated with anti-retroviral therapy.|
More than half of all children living with the virus need antiretroviral drug treatment to save their lives. Only a minority receive it. Without treatment, some fifty per cent of these children will die by their second birthday.
What is the response?
Once a diagnosis of HIV is confirmed, medical and social support must be available throughout childhood, and into adolescence and adulthood.
In the developing world, children are less likely than adults to receive antiretroviral treatment for HIV. And poverty, isolation and distance from health care facilities can place them beyond the reach of life-saving care.
UN Millennium Development Goal 4 calls for reducing infant and child mortality.
What needs to happen?
Early testing, diagnosis and treatment are crucial to ensuring that children living with the virus receive the care they need. To achieve the Millennium Development Goals, services for the care, treatment and protection of children must be scaled up to reach all of those affected. Only then will the response to the epidemic be truly inclusive.
VCT: Voluntary conselling and testing
ART: Antiretroviral treatment or therapy
ANC: Antenatal care
ARV: Antiretroviral drugs
DBS: Dried Blood Spot