SEATTLE — Organizations like PEPFAR and UNAIDS are on the forefront in helping children with HIV/AIDS. The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS) are constantly looking into new ideas and innovations to find solutions to this global issue.
Approximately 2.1 million children are living with HIV/AIDS and less than half have access to treatment. 50 percent of these children would die before their second birthday, and 80 percent of these children would die before their fifth birthday. In addition, about 95 percent of children who are affected by HIV/AIDS live with their extended family, and 13.4 million children are living without one or both parents because of AIDS.
In its efforts to help children with HIV/AIDS, PEPFAR has collaborated with DREAMS. This partnership’s primary concentration is the reduction of HIV in adolescent girls and women by 40 percent in areas with the highest rates of the virus in sub-Saharan Africa. The program has four focus areas: strengthening the capacity of communities to deliver services, keeping girls in secondary school, linking men to services and supporting pre-exposure prophylaxis. Approximately $85 million will be donated towards the PEPFAR/DREAMS partnership.
Other PEPFAR partnerships include Accelerating Children’s HIV/AIDS Treatment Initiative, Elton John AIDS Foundation LGBT Fund, Global Plan Collaboration with Johnson & Johnson, Health4Men, Inside Story Partnership, Labs for Life Partnership, Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon, Project Last Mile and Saving Mothers, Giving Life.
Through the assistance of PEPFAR, about two million babies have been born HIV-free, and the organization contributes 10 percent of all funds from programs to alleviate the emotional, physical and economic impacts on children with HIV/AIDS.
UNAIDS’ main goal is to end the AIDS epidemic by the year 2030. In its efforts to help children with HIV/AIDS, the organization developed the UNAIDS 2016-2021 Strategy. The program consists of ten target goals, which include 90 percent of men and women having access to HIV prevention services, zero new HIV infections among children, 75 percent of people who are at risk of HIV infection or living with the virus receiving the benefits of social protection and 90 percent of people who are at risk of HIV infection or currently living with the virus report no discrimination.
UNAIDS has also pioneered the 90-90-90 initiative, which strives to achieve three goals by 2020. These goals are that 90 percent of people living with HIV will know their status, 90 percent of people diagnosed with HIV will receive antiretroviral therapy and 90 percent of people receiving antiretroviral therapy will have viral suppression.
Recently, there has been major progress in helping children with HIV/AIDS. About 21 million people living with HIV have access to antiretroviral therapy, which is over half of the 36.7 million people living with the virus. PEPFAR supported over 13.3 million of these men, women and children receiving the treatment. PEPFAR has also provided aid to more than 6.4 million orphans and other vulnerable children and their caregivers living with HIV. HIV infection was also prevented among 2.2 million babies born to women affected by HIV.
With strides such as these, hopefully organizations such as PEPFAR and UNAIDS will be able to continue to have success in helping children with HIV/AIDS, and UNAIDS will be able to achieve its goal of ending the AIDS epidemic globally by 2030.
– Blake Chambers