International AIDS Conference an “expensive talking shop” unless more done for children
World Vision, a Christian relief and development organization with HIV and AIDS programs in more than 60 countries, says participants in the XVII International AIDS Conference (IAC) in Mexico City should put children at the focus of their discussions. Fifteen million children have been orphaned by the pandemic, and thousands are infected each week while treatment and care lag that of adults.
“This is a top forum for hearing important new scientific research and for productive, structured dialogue on the major challenges facing the global response to AIDS,” said Martha Newsome, director of World Vision’s HIV and AIDS Hope Initiative. “However, as is often the case with global conferences like this one, the needs of children are too low on the agenda.
“Almost 1,200 children a day under the age of 15 are newly infected with HIV – around 90 percent of those from mother-to-child transmission, which is preventable. Organizers expect 22,000 people to attend this conference, from field workers to government ministers. Imagine if each of those made reducing mother-to-child transmission of HIV their personal goal?
“As a global community we should be ashamed that nine out of every 10 HIV positive children get the virus from their mothers during pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding, a particular tragedy because mother-child transmission can be safely stopped. Prevention services can reduce transmission risk to less than 2 percent, but only about 1 in 10 HIV-positive pregnant women who need ARVs get them. There’s no acceptable reason to not put an end to mother-to-child transmission.”
ARVs, or anti-retroviral drugs, are the medications needed by HIV-positive people to delay the onset of AIDS and significantly prolong life. Specifically, World Vision is calling for health and government leaders to:
“Without addressing the needs of children impacted by HIV and AIDS, and of those infected by mother-child transmission specifically, the IAC will sadly prove to be just another expensive talking shop to the millions who need action now,” Newsome said.
For more information, or an interview with one of World Vision’s HIV and AIDS experts, contact Geraldine Ryerson-Cruz in Mexico City at +1 .202.615.2608 or +52.55.3856.5043 (local mobile).
:: More about World Vision at the International AIDS Conference
Notes to editors
World Vision’s AIDS programmes are in 60+ nations, many in sub-Saharan Africa, where more than 90 percent of the world’s HIV-infected children live. Partnering with local communities and faith leaders it works to educate about the disease, to eradicate stigma, encourage voluntary testing, train thousands of home visitors and provide care and assistance to thousands of chronically ill men, women and children.
World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. We serve all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender. For more information, please visit www.worldvision.org/press.
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World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice..
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