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UNICEF’s global HIV/AIDS campaign launched in BIH

Sarajevo, 30 November 2005.  BH Telecom and RS Telecom accepted UNICEF’s invitation to join the Global HIV/AIDS campaign “Unite for children, Unite against AIDS. The campaign aims to spread the message about HIV/AIDS and its effects on children. The telecom operators in BIH agreed to send a generic SMS message to all subscribers, an e-mail message to their internet subscribers as well as a generic message printed on the back side of invoices which was sent to all telephone users. The messages were disseminated on December 1st, the World’s AIDS Day. The SMS message, received by 1.3 million mobile subscribers “Currently 2.2 million children in the world are infected by HIV/AIDS. How can you prevent it from happening to our children?”. This message reflects the local context aiming to remind people in BiH that HIV and AIDS can affects anyone, anywhere.

 “Although the official figures show a low prevalence in Bosnia and Herzegovina, our message is that now is our window of opportunity to act in order to prevent the spread the HIV virus in this country. The campaign seeks to break the common belief that HIV/AIDS is a problem that only affects adults or the poor, or only infects people in Africa. In our region of Europe in the last four years, some 75% of reported infections were in people younger than 30 years. It is children and women who are most affected and most vulnerable to infection throughout world.” – said UNICEF Representative, Helena Eversole.

HIV/AIDS is hitting the world's children and adolescents hardest. More than half of the 14,000 people newly infected each day are young people - mostly girls. Many newborns still contract HIV from their parents; millions of children are infected with HIV and thousands of children see their parents die of AIDS every day.

The impact of HIV on children is devastating and the worst is yet to come. Between 2001 and 2003, the global number of children orphaned by AIDS increased from 11.5 million to 15 million. In 2004, 510,000 children under the age of 15 died of AIDS related illnesses, 640,000 were newly infected with HIV and 2.2 million are living with the virus.

The campaign has been designed to unite UNICEF and its partners in more than 160 countries in the world around a common goal: to help children affected by HIV/AIDS. Over the next five years, the campaign aims to mobilize action and resources to drastically reduce primary infections, scale up intervention for prevention of mother to child transmission, to make pediatric AIDS drugs available to children and to provide adequate care and protection of children affected.

The campaign involves UN sister Agencies, Governments, NGOs, Donors and media all over the world.



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