The recent UNAIDS report revealed that only 52% of children with HIV are receiving life-saving treatment. However, 76% of adults with HIV are receiving antiretrovirals. The gap in coverage is “an outrage”, according to UNAIDS Executive Director Winnie Bynanyima. She hopes to “channel that outrage into action” over the next few years.
In August 2022 UNAIDS, UNICEF, WHO, and partners have formed a “global alliance” to provide essential treatment to every child with HIV and prevent new infections by 2030. It will be politically launched in Africa at a Ministerial meeting in October 2022.
The Global Alliance for Ending AIDS in Children by 2030 was launched at the International AIDS Conference in Canada. It includes UN agencies, “civil society movements”, and international partners. 12 countries have joined the initial phase: Angola, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
The alliance has identified “four pillars for collective action”:
- closing the treatment gap for pregnant and breastfeeding adolescent girls and women living with HIV and optimising continuity of treatment;
- preventing and detecting new HIV infections among pregnant and breastfeeding adolescent girls and women;
- accessible testing, optimised treatment, and comprehensive care for infants, children, and adolescents exposed to and living with HIV; and
- addressing rights, gender equality, and the social and structural barriers that hinder access to services.
Catherine Russell, the Executive Director of UNICEF, described this alliance as an “important step forward” towards an “AIDS-free future”. Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the WHO echoed this, suggesting that it will provide an “opportunity to renew our commitment to children and their families”. He intends to “unite, to speak, and to act with purpose and in solidarity”.
To learn about innovations in HIV vaccine technology from Dr Brander of AELIX Therapeutics at the World Vaccine Congress in Europe 2022 follow this link.