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25.10.2005 Health

UNICEF/UNAIDS support children affected by HIV/AIDS

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Accra Oct. 25, GNA - A global campaign to invigorate action for millions of children affected by HIV/AIDS was launched on Tuesday jointly by UNICEF and UNAIDS to support children with the disease. UNICEF described children affected by the disease as the "Missing Face" of AIDS explaining that such children were missing not only from global and national policy discussions on HIV/AIDS but also lacking access to most basic care and prevention services. A statement from UNICEF said; "it was a disgrace that fewer than five per cent of HIV-positive children receive treatment and millions of children, who have lost parents to the disease go without support". Millions of children are missing parents, siblings, schooling, healthcare, basic protection and many other fundamentals of childhood because of the toll the disease was taking, the two UN institutions said.

The global campaign is aimed at achieving measurable progress for children based on internationally agreed goals in four key areas. The four areas are the: Prevention of mother to children transmission, explaining that 80 per cent of women in need would be provided with access to services to prevent transmission of HIV to their babies. Currently less than 10 per cent of women have access to these services.

Other areas are paediatric treatment, where infected mother would be given antiretroviral treatment. The campaign would also protect and support children affected and would adequately inform and give adolescents and youth the needed skills to protect themselves from HIV. UNICEF said children must be at the forefront of the fight against AIDS.

An estimated 15 million children have lost at least one parent because of AIDS. Yet less than 10 per cent of children orphaned and made vulnerable by AIDS receive public support or services.

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