The Joint United Nations Program on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS) is collaborating with various partners and organizations to launch “Start Free, Stay Free, AIDS-free”, a program focused on ending and preventing AIDS among children, adolescents and young women.
According to UNAIDS, we must now focus our attention to children because they currently run the risk of being overlooked, as global developments on AIDS among adults continue to improve.
“Compared to adults, children are less likely to be diagnosed with HIV in a timely manner, and more likely to die of AIDS-related causes,” the organization said. The focus must be shifted toward children who are diagnosed with HIV are diagnosed immediately and that they receive the proper medical treatment.
UNAIDS identifies two urgent steps needed to better improve the HIV treatment of children—political commitment of initiatives dedicated on pediatric HIV and focusing on accelerating development of HIV programs in countries who are falling behind.
“Start Free, Stay Free, AIDS-free” is categorized into three parts, each one focusing on a specific stage of childhood. Start Free’s focus is on reducing HIV infection of young children and their mothers, Stay Free’s focus is reducing infection for adolescents and young women and AIDS-free is focused on retroviral treatment for all of those age groups.
Because of these new developments, there is a new target for ending pediatric AIDS called 90-90-90. The targets state that “a) 90% of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status; (b) 90% of people with an HIV diagnosis will receive sustained antiretroviral therapy; and (c) 90% of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy will achieve viral suppression.”
UNAIDS says that “achieving 90-90-90, combined with strengthened HIV prevention and non-discrimination efforts, will reduce new HIV infections 90% and AIDS-related deaths by 79% by 2030.”
The organization also aims to close the HIV treatment gap via political commitment to AIDS testing. Adding that “late diagnosis of HIV infection is perhaps the greatest single obstacle to improved health outcomes for children living with HIV.” UNAIDS also aims to remedy the stigma surrounding HIV to help victims gain confidence in seeking treatment.
Finally, UNAIDS also identifies philanthropy as a key factor in the global battle against HIV. FXB is proud to share this mission. FXB has worked tirelessly over the past 27 years to support communities impacted by HIV/AIDS. The FXBVillage Model has been recognized by UNICEF and UNAIDS as a “best practice.”
Download UNAIDS’ full report Towards an AIDS-free world for children: A global push to end pediatric AIDS.