By Joyce Ojanji
To bridge the gap between HIV/AIDS treatment coverage in children and adults, a new global alliance to end AIDS in children by 2030 has been formed.
The alliance, launched during the international AIDS Conference, is a collaboration between World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and other partners.
While more than three quarters of all adults living with HIV globally are on life saving treatment, the number of children doing so stands at 52 percent, according to the UNAIDS Global AIDS Updates 2022.
Winnie Byanyima, UNAIDS Executive Director, said that the wide gap in treatment coverage between children and adults is an outrage and therefore through the alliance ,they will channel the outrage into action, through new improved medicine, new political commitment and determined activism of communities.
Catherine Russell, UNICEF Executive Director appreciated this move to end AIDS in children by the alliance because it is an important step forward and promised that UNICEF is committed to working alongside all partners to achieve an AIDS –free future.
“No child should be born with or grow up with HIV, and no child with HIV go without treatment,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, adding that the fact that only half of children with HIV receive antiretrovirals is a scandal.
He noted that the global alliance is an opportunity to renew the world’s commitment to children and their families to unite, to speak and to act with purpose.