A campaign launching next week at the United Nations will alert the world to the fact that children are missing from the global AIDS agenda.
Convened by UNICEF and its partners, the ‘Unite for Children. Unite against AIDS’ campaign outlines a child-centred approach to holding the world to its promises to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS.
“Children have really been the forgotten face of AIDS,” said UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman. “It is important that we focus attention on the needs of children.”
The five-year campaign will be launched on Tuesday 25 October by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman, UNAIDS Executive Director Peter Piot and other leading figures in the fight against HIV/AIDS, including First Lady of Rwanda Jeanette Kagame, MTV Networks International President Bill Roedy, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Sir Roger Moore, and young people affected by HIV/AIDS.
Resources needed for children
HIV/AIDS is causing crisis for childhood as a whole and, unless something is done about it, the situation is only going to get worse.
* More than 500,000 children under 15 are dying each year due to AIDS.
* More than 15 million children around the world have lost one or both parents to AIDS-related illnesses.
* More than 2 million children are infected with the virus.
After more than 20 years, children still see only a tiny fraction of the resources dedicated to fighting HIV/AIDS.
Less than five per cent of HIV-positive children have access to the paediatric drugs they need, less than 10 per cent of children orphaned and made vulnerable by AIDS receive public support, and less than 10 percent of pregnant women are offered services to prevent the transmission of HIV to their babies.
The ‘Unite for Children. Unite against AIDS’ campaign aims to unite the efforts of all those fighting AIDS to meet children’s needs in four key areas:
* Prevent mother to child transmission of HIV
* Provide paediatric treatment
* Prevent infection among adolescents and young people
* Protect and support children affected by HIV/AIDS.