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Children and AIDS: A Stocktaking Report

© Credit must be given: UNICEF/ HQ02-0318/Giacomo Pirozzi
ZIMBABWE: Cecilia holds her sleeping granddaughter, Florine, 6, in a suburb of town of Mvuri.
Unite for Children, Unite against AIDS was launched in October 2005 with the goal of putting the ‘missing face’ of children at the centre of the global HIV/AIDS agenda.  In the year since, the world’s response to protect and support AIDS-affected children remains tragically insufficient.  But in important and positive ways, that is beginning to change. 

Over the past year, there has been a broad, growing recognition of the need to intensify and accelerate actions towards universal access to comprehensive prevention, treatment, care and support.  In several countries in Eastern and Southern Africa, trends in access to antiretroviral regimens for preventing mother-to-child transmission are starting to show remarkable gains.  Increasing numbers of children living with HIV are now receiving treatment, although the numbers are far too few.  The increases are a result of improved testing, better skills among health workers, lower drug prices and simpler formulations.

There are, however, huge gaps in progress:
• Only 1 in 10 pregnant women with HIV in low- and middle-income countries is receiving antiretroviral prophylaxis for prevention mother-to-child transmission.
• Only 1 in 10 children needing antiretroviral treatment receives it – the others face a bleak and short-lived future.
• At most, 1 in 25 children born to HIV-infected mothers receives cotrimoxazole prophylaxis to prevent opportunistic infections that can be fatal.
• Children who have lost both parents – to AIDS or any other cause – are generally less likely than non-orphans to attend school.
• Fewer than one in three young people in sub-Saharan Africa has the comprehensive knowledge about HIV that will help protect them against the virus.

For further information, please contact:

Karen Dukess, UNICEF Media NY, 1-212 303-7910, kdukess@unicef.org
Elizabeth Losleben, UNICEF Media NY, 1-212 326-7172, elosleben@unicef.org
Patrick McCormick, UNICEF Media Geneva, +41 22 909 5604, pmccormick@unicef.org

Related press releases and news notes:

1 December 2006 - Angolan Youth Music Festival on HIV/AIDS: a new drive towards prevention

27 November 2006 - UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Angélique Kidjo returns from northern Uganda

21 November 2006 - Brazilian STD/AIDS programme announces reduction of 50per cent in vertical transmission cases

30 October 2006 - UNICEF launches online Swahili game for HIV prevention

25 October 2006 - Pediatric treatment against AIDS launched in Guinea-Bissau



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