AIDS 2016: The call to end AIDS in children by 2020
As major global stakeholders came together this week for the 21st International AIDS Conference in Durban, a bold new strategy was launched with the aim of ending AIDS in children by 2020.
The strategy forms part of the ‘Start Free, Stay Free, AIDS Free’ initiative, a Super Fast-Track framework for ending AIDS among children, adolescents and young women, launched at the UN High-Level Meeting on Ending AIDS in June 2016.
With the aim of ensuring that children and adolescents are not left behind in the Fast-Track 90-90-90 targets, the framework provides a combination of policy and programmatic interventions designed to be tailored to the specific country context. A critical component of the framework is identifying critical opportunities and actions to expand access to paediatric treatment for mothers and children.
Tony Lake, Executive Director of UNICEF said: “Next in our response to HIV is to break the chain of transmission throughout the life cycle… from mother to child, to adolescent, to mother again. Through prevention & treatment at every point.”
The ‘Start Free, Stay Free, AIDS Free’ initiative is a collaboration between UNAIDS, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), and is meant as a follow-up to the highly successful Global Plan towards the elimination of new HIV infections among children by 2015 and keeping their mothers alive. The Global Plan helped reduce new HIV infections among children by 60% and avert 1.2 million new HIV infections among children across 21 priority countries from 2009.
UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé said: “We must stop new HIV infections among children, ensure access to life-saving treatment for people living with HIV and halt the cycle of new infections among girls and young women – only then will we end Paediatric AIDS.”