Children Must Be Priority in Approach to Ending AIDS

Media Contact: Meghan Quinn mquinn@pedaids.org 202-448-8470

Statement from Chip Lyons on PEPFAR’s Strategy for Accelerating HIV/AIDS Epidemic Control

Washington, D.C.—September 19, 2017—The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF) applauds the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)’s continued investment in and acceleration of the important work of epidemic control and ending AIDS worldwide, as illustrated in the Strategy for Accelerating HIV/AIDS Epidemic Control (2017 – 2020). Prioritizing the goals of first, maintaining accessibility to treatment and services for those currently supported by PEPFAR; second, increasing services for orphans and vulnerable children; third, ensuring key populations have access to essential services for preventing and treating HIV; and finally, driving progress toward controlling the epidemic in key priority countries is critical in advancing the goal of ending AIDS.

However, while epidemic control means reaching everyone at risk, it is notable that the strategy does not reflect data on children. As a partner in each of the six Population-based HIV Impact Assessments (PHIA) countries, EGPAF is aware that progress is not the same across gender, age groups, and different segments of the population and we are constantly adapting to address the identified gaps and challenges. Specifically, the gap in treatment access and viral load suppression is particularly significant in children under age 15. And while we applaud PEPFAR for the goal to get all sexually active HIV-positive individuals diagnosed and treated, we are concerned that this approach does not address the needs of infants and children already infected whose situation must be addressed with urgency. 

Today, 400 children are newly infected with HIV daily, and only 43 percent of the 2.1 million children living with HIV have access to the medications they need to stay healthy.

Children living with HIV require unique, specific actions to identify them and ensure they have access to and remain on treatment. EGPAF is committed to not only sustaining, but accelerating efforts to reach millions more children living with and affected by HIV with prevention, treatment, and care services. We welcome the Strategy for Accelerating HIV/AIDS Epidemic Control (2017 – 2020) and look forward to continuing to work with PEPFAR and other partners to implement strategic investments to achieve our goal of an AIDS-free generation.

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About the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF): EGPAF is the global leader in the fight against pediatric HIV/ AIDS and has reached more than 27 million women with services to prevent transmission of HIV to their babies. Founded in 1988, EGPAF today supports activities in 19 countries and over 5,000 sites to implement prevention, care, and treatment services; to further advance innovative research; and to execute global advocacy activities that bring dramatic change to the lives of millions of women, children, and families worldwide. For more information, visit www.pedaids.org.