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Sonia Gandhi and Bill Clinton launch AIDS programme for children

© UNICEF India/2006/Arjo
The President of the Indian National Congress, Sonia Gandhi, and former US President Bill Clinton participate in the launch of the National Paediatric Programme on HIV/AIDS in New Delhi, India.

NEW DELHI, India, 30 November 2006 – On the eve of World AIDS Day, former US President Bill Clinton and Sonia Gandhi, one of India’s leading politicians, launched India’s first National Paediatric Programme on HIV and AIDS.

During the launch, Mr. Clinton noted that as many as 11,000 people are infected by HIV daily, and children represent a significant number of cases.

Ms. Gandhi, the President of the Indian National Congress, also spoke during the launch at the newly opened Anti-Retroviral Therapy Centre for Children at a paediatric hospital in New Delhi, saying that it had come a long way since the UNITE FOR CHILDREN  UNITE AGAINST AIDS campaign was inaugurated in India just over a year ago.

Access to treatment

The first phase of the National Paediatric Programme aims to put 10,000 children on life-saving antiretroviral treatment (ART). A large number of children living with HIV/AIDS here have no access to treatment due to a lack of awareness, as well as a lack of drug availability. UNICEF is providing technical support to ensure that the programme’s goals are met and will continue to be active in monitoring coverage.

This latest partnership in India is a significant achievement in addressing better access to ART for children. The programme will help the government facilitate the care and treatment of children who might otherwise be overlooked.

For his part, Mr. Clinton has founded the Clinton Foundation HIV/AIDS Initiative, which is committed to making AIDS treatment more affordable and supporting large-scale, integrated care and prevention programmes worldwide.

“This is a great day, but we have a long way to go,” Mr. Clinton said, adding that every child in need should have access to AIDS treatment.



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