Monday, December 14, 2009

Children and AIDS: Fourth Stocktaking Report, 2009

An AIDS-free generation is not impossible. Yet the world is not on track to meet targets for HIV prevention, treatment, care and support, and the global economic crisis raises concerns about sustaining and expanding assistance. This Fourth Stocktaking Report highlights progress made and challenges that remain in scaling up services for women, children and young people affected by the epidemic, and it calls for concerted action and continued commitments amid economic difficulties that affect all countries.Some key messages to take away from the report:* The elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV is now a global objective. In 2008, approximately 45 per cent of pregnant women living with HIV received treatment to prevent the transmission of the virus, compared to 15 per cent in 2005. Significant progress in expanding access to early infant diagnosis is not matched by progress in linking it to early treatment. A recent study of 11 sites in Cameroon found that only 32 per cent of infants who tested positive for the virus were alive and undergoing treatment one and a half years after being tested. The basis for effective prevention actions is a better understanding of local circumstances around the epidemic. In sub-Saharan Africa, for example, many young women are exceptionally vulnerable to HIV infection. Girls and young women account for about 70 per cent of young people living with HIV in the region in 2008. Strengthening social protection in economic hard times is necessary to support families and communities in caring for children affected by AIDS. For more information, please visit the Unite for Children, Unite against AIDS website

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