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UNICEF welcomes new medication for children living with HIV

New fixed-dose antiretroviral combination important step in treating children with HIV

NEW YORK, 16 August 2007 – UNICEF today welcomed the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s decision to approve the first single-dose combination antiretrovirals (ARV) for children. The new drug, a ‘three-in-one’ formulation, was developed specifically for children under the age of 12 outside the USA, who have had to rely on adult medications that are hard to administer and could be ineffective or even dangerous.

The FDA’s approval will allow the U.S. President’s Emergency Fund for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and other organisations to procure the ARV medication, which will be manufactured generically, for some of the most affected countries and children in need.

The medication represents a major step towards making treatment universally accessible and available for children in need. At the end of 2006, only an estimated 15 per cent of children in need of treatment were receiving antiretroviral drugs.

To ensure safe and effective treatment, UNICEF and its partners continue to advocate for additional antiretroviral drugs formulated specifically for children. With 330,000 children under 15 dying of AIDS-related causes in 2006 alone, it is critical to reach children with life-saving HIV treatment to work towards an AIDS-free generation.

UNICEF is leading the Unite for Children, Unite against AIDS global campaign which provides a platform for urgent and sustained action in four key areas: preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV, scaling up pediatric treatment and care for children infected with HIV, preventing new infections amongst adolescents, and supporting children affected by AIDS. UNICEF is on the ground in more than 150 countries and territories. For more information please visit www.unicef.org.

For more information, please contact:
Gerrit Beger, UNICEF New York, +1-212-326-7116, gbeger@unicef.org
Elizabeth Losleben, UNICEF New York, +212-326-7172, elosleben@unicef.org




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