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Historically, there has been little to celebrate in the struggle against AIDS. But in 2006, some good news began to emerge. National survey data for 2005 from six of the most- affected countries showed a 25 per cent reduction in HIV prevalence among young people aged 15 to 24. In 11 of 24 countries that submitted reports, the percentage of girls engaging in sex before the age of 15 declined. And 15 of 24 countries in sub-Saharan Africa reported that the school attendance gap between orphans and non-orphans had declined. While it is currently impossible to determine the exact percentage of AIDS funding that was allocated specifically for children, global funds were expected to be $9 billion in 2006, climbing from approximately $4.7 billion that was available in 2003.

Drug coverage to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV was estimated to be no more than 9 per cent worldwide in 2005. Paediatric care of HIV-positive children lags behind the already limited rates of treatment of adults in most countries. To address this paucity of care for HIV-positive mothers and their children, UNICEF supported programmes for prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV in 91 countries. And in Angola, Botswana, Cambodia, the Central African Republic, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Niger and South Africa, UNICEF expanded prevention services for mother-to-child transmission of HIV.

Despite some encouraging news, AIDS continues to wreak havoc across the globe, especially for children. In 2006, the focus continued on the ‘Four Ps’ – Prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV; Provide paediatric treatment; Prevent infection among adolescents and young people; and Protect and support children affected by HIV/AIDS.

To spur action for scaling up treatment of paediatric HIV, UNICEF and the World Health Organization hosted an expert consultation. Practitioners in the fields of paediatric HIV and child survival analysed scientific evidence and programmatic lessons to create the Paediatric Care, Support and Treatment Framework for national HIV and child survival programme managers and partners.

UNITE AGAINST AIDS

MANY ROADS, ONE DESTINATION

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