In the News: Pediatric HIV/AIDS Must Remain a Global Priority

Only 34 percent of HIV-positive children have access to the medications they need to survive. In this editorial, EGPAF's public policy officer argues eliminating pediatric HIV must remain a priority.

Eliane Drakopoulos, public policy and advocacy officer at the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF), recently published an opinion editorial in Devex, a leading resource for global development professionals. The piece highlights that despite the fact that approximately 700 children are born HIV-positive every day, only 34 percent of HIV-positive children have access to the medications they need to survive.

“One of the most under-reported tragedies of the HIV epidemic is that children continue to be left behind in the HIV response. In 2012 alone, approximately 210,000 children died from AIDS-related illness, 575 children each day.”

The article goes on to explain why it is so difficult to provide pediatric treatment,

“There are many barriers that prevent infants and children living with HIV from getting proper diagnosis, treatment, and care in resource-limited settings like Mozambique.
Weak health systems, lack of medical personnel trained in treating children, stock-outs of critical medications in countries with high HIV prevalence rates, lack of money for transportation, fear of stigma — these are all a big part of the problem.

Another serious problem is the lack of good treatment options for children. Many medications are either not being studied for pediatric care or have been found to be unsafe for children. Of the pediatric formulas available, many are unpalatable or difficult for young children to swallow, and some require refrigeration, a resource unavailable to most caregivers in developing countries.”

You can read Drakopoulos’ full opinion piece here. To learn more about what EGPAF is doing to eliminate pediatric HIV/AIDS worldwide, click here.