WASHINGTON, DC (July 3, 2012) — In order to sustain the significant progress made to reach goals for zero new HIV infections and an AIDS-Free Generation, the US must develop an actionable strategy for meeting the goals and get HIV and AIDS funding back on track. Countries must also address the lack of treatment and prevention resources reaching children, as they are the most vulnerable to the effects of the disease, says World Vision, the world’s largest Christian humanitarian organization focusing on children with HIV and AIDS work in 60 countries.
It was 1990 when the International AIDS Conference was last held in the US, and since then significant advances in the fight against HIV and AIDS have made the end of the AIDS crisis within reach. According to a recent United Nations report, new HIV infections have been reduced by 21% since 1997, and deaths from AIDS-related illnesses decreased by 21% since 2005. However, with US funding at its lowest levels since 2007, we approach this year’s conference in Washington DC with this significant progress at risk.
“With new HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths at their lowest levels since the peak of the epidemic, this is the first time we come to the International AIDS Conference on the cusp of beating this disease, says Adam Taylor, World Vision U.S.’s vice president for advocacy. “The US government has been instrumental in reversing the global impact of HIV and AIDS, and must continue to ‘fight until we reach zero’ by staying on course with funding commitments and developing an actionable strategy for reaching an AIDS-Free Generation.”
To truly “turn the tide” on the HIV epidemic, countries must stay on course with their HIV and AIDS funding commitments and step up support for orphans and vulnerable children. The US is significantly behind its 5-year funding commitment since the 2008 re-authorization of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), and we urge the government to provide PEPFAR with at least $4.6 billion in fiscal year 2013, as well as, $1.65 billion for the Global Fund to Fight HIV and AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria to meet the $4 billion pledge.
In addition to life-saving investments in the Global Fund, PEPFAR has been one of the most successful initiatives in turning the tide of the HIV epidemic providing:
Greater focus must be given to eliminating new infections in children and providing access to treatment because in spite of significant progress, orphans and vulnerable children still lack the access to treatment and prevention services they need. According to the World Health Organization and UNICEF, 1.3 million children need HIV treatment now, but only 28% receive it, and 800 HIV positive children die each day due to lack of access to treatment and care.
“Children still lag far behind adults in access to HIV prevention and treatment, while many mothers face pregnancy and childbearing without access to ways for protecting their babies from HIV,” said Rev. Christo Greyling, World Vision’s director for HIV and infectious diseases. “Closing that gap would be a huge step towards an AIDS-free generation, and we’ve seen first-hand that the key to success is working with community-based groups to provide not only treatment, but to reduce HIV-related stigma, to increase demand for testing and treatment services, and to provide comprehensive preventions messages, especially those for preventing mother-to-child transmission.”
World Vision is on the front-lines of the fight against HIV and AIDS, working in public-private partnerships and faith leaders of all religions in HIV prevention and care for orphans and vulnerable children and people living with AIDS. Beginning its HIV and AIDS response in 1990 in hard-hit Rakai Uganda and in Romania, the organization expanded its efforts globally over a decade ago through its Hope Initiative, reaching vulnerable communities and households through education, prevention and home-based care for orphans and the chronically ill.
World Vision’s current HIV and AIDS strategy aims to mobilize the commitment, capacity and resources needed to scale up integrated family-focused and community-based approaches that will reduce the impact of HIV and AIDS on children. Each year, World Vision reaches one million orphans and children vulnerable to the effects of AIDS. Through the Channels of Hope program, the agency has worked with more than 350,000 faith leaders to teach them about HIV, eradicate stigma, and encourage their engagement to serve their communities and countries.
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About World Vision:World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. We serve the world's poor — regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender. For more information on their efforts, visit WorldVision.org/press or follow them on Twitter at @WorldVisionNews