Secretary General of Caritas Internationalis Leslie Ann-Knight says with the right treatment it is possible to eliminate mother to child infection.
Caritas HAART for Children Campaign
source – www.caritas.org
Today, December 1st is� World AIDS Day.� According to UNAIDS estimates, there are now 33.4 million people living with HIV, including 2.1 million children.� In the last year alone 2.7 million people became infected with the virus.� 2 million others died from AIDS.
This year�s theme is “Universal Access and Human Rights” and President of Caritas Internationalis, Cardinal Oscar Rodr�guez Maradiaga, has called for immediate action to prevent the deaths of children with HIV in poor countries.
HAART stands for Highly Active Anti-Retroviral Therapy (HAART), the term given to treatment regimens to aggressively suppress viral replication and slow the progress of HIV disease.
Caritas is also urging efforts to prevent mother-to-child transmission be scaled up, especially in Africa.
Adults with HIV are living longer and fuller lives because they have access to a care package, but the treatment is not readily available in a child-friendly format.
Most of the children who die every year would have not even contracted HIV if their mothers would have been treated.
Children have been the forgotten in global and national efforts to address HIV and AIDS.
In 2009, the world celebrates the 20th Anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Caritas is launching �HAART for Children: Greater Access to Pediatric HIV and TB testing and treatment�, a campaign urging governments and pharmaceutical companies to live up to the Convention by develop medicine that will treat HIV and TB in children and save lives.
And Caritas is campaigning on the elimination of the barriers that exclude women or children from diagnosis and treatment.
All that is lacking is the funding and political will. Advocacy to facilitate access to medicines for children already has made a real difference. In low- and middle-income countries, 127,300 children received ART in 2006 compared with 75,000 in 2005.
Yet, especially in Africa, such access for children remains far behind.
Since all children living with HIV have the right to access to diagnosis and child-friendly medications, we need to keep up the pressure on governments, pharmaceutical companies and UN Agencies.
Join our campaign by writing letters to governments and pharmaceutical companies.