Pediatric HIV Testing, Care and Treatment
Globally, only a quarter of HIV-infected children have access to antiretroviral therapy (ART). Without access to treatment, 80% of HIV-infected children will die before their fifth birthday. Since 1988, the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF) has been a global leader in the fight to eliminate pediatric AIDS, through advocacy, research, and program implementation. EGPAF was one of the first organizations to advocate for extending HIV treatment to children in the United States and has continued to push for worldwide universal access to HIV testing, care and treatment services for children.
EGPAF serves as a leading advocate for improving pediatric HIV diagnosis, care, and treatment services at global and national levels. We are currently working with partners and stakeholders to formulate and implement a global framework to end this epidemic in children, adolescents and women called Start Free, Stay Free AIDS Free. We advocate for increased political commitment and funding for pediatric HIV diagnosis, care and treatment.
At the country level, EGPAF works directly with ministries of health, government agencies, and local partners to expand, strengthen and optimize pediatric HIV services. Priorities include promotion of early infant HIV diagnosis and implementation of a comprehensive package of pediatric care and HIV support services. This comprehensive package includes access to provider-initiated HIV testing and counseling in delivery and supported post-natal/pediatric facilities; repeat testing and antiretroviral prophylaxis among HIV-exposed infants; early initiation of ART for all HIV-positive children; TB testing, care and treatment; nutritional support; and adherence and retention support services. EGPAF also offers family-centered care and caregiver support in many of its supported programs.
EGPAF pioneered pediatric HIV support groups and camps, called “Ariel Clubs” in honor of Elizabeth’s daughter, who lost her battle with AIDS. These peer clubs create a safe space for HIV-positive children and adolescents to learn more about their health and treatment of HIV in child friendly environment, receive psychosocial support, learn important life skills, and create lasting friendship and support networks. Specific peer-led adolescent and teen support groups have also been created in many EGPAF-supported countries to deal with the special needs of these populations, such as issues of reproductive health, family planning, disclosure to partners, fighting stigma and discrimination. EGPAF also offers family support groups to provide support for the whole family unit including HIV-infected and uninfected family members.
Research has always been a cornerstone of our work. EGPAF conducts operations research to improve program implementation of pediatric care and treatment programs to ensure and health outcomes among children. Studies have focused on improving and expanding early infant diagnosis services, understanding the barriers and facilitators to early infant diagnosis and pediatric care and treatment services, and evaluating point-of-care technologies. To read more about active research studies focused on pediatric care and treatment, click here.
To read more about our work in scaling up access to HIV testing, diagnosis and treatment among children, please click here.