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Prevention and control of HIV/AIDS among children

Dec 02, 2010

UNICEF’s latest publication Children and AIDS: Fifth Stocktaking Report 2010 urges to focus on children while building any strategy for the prevention and control of HIV/ AIDS. This is the key to achieve an HIV/AIDS free generation.

Children and AIDS: Fifth Stocktaking Report 2010

unicef-aids-report.jpgPublished by: UNICEF, 2010

The elimination of new HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths in children is possible, but it will require vision, leadership and system-wide improvements in health-care delivery, as well as deep-seated social change and continued implementation of best practices. 

In all four of the /Unite for Children, Unite against AIDS /priority areas – the four ‘Ps’ of preventing mother-to-child transmission, providing paediatric care and treatment, preventing infection among adolescents and young people, and protecting and supporting children affected by HIV and AIDS – integrating interventions into existing systems without losing the capacity to address the specific needs of children affected by AIDS is a challenge. 

Reaching the poorest, most marginalised and least served has been at the core of successful AIDS programming. That imperative is even greater in an era of static resources and ever more complex competing priorities. The AIDS-free generation that is now in sight can be achieved – but only if we accelerate the scale-up of proven measures, and only if we see them as part of a rights-based, results-focused drive to reach all those in need. 

The report elaborates holistic approaches to address the issues of AIDS among pregnant mother and children.

  • Maternal and child health systems must be functioning and must offer all relevant services for effective follow-up of  HIV-infected pregnant women and their babies. 
  • Families must be able to pay for their children’s transport to clinics for follow- up, and able to buy or grow food to keep their children healthy. 
  • Health-care workers must be given a mandate and incentives or the integration and linkage of services, as well as for task-shifting to achieve greater workforce effectiveness where health systems resources are limited. 
  • Gender roles, gender inequality, gender-based violence and barriers to access to services must be addressed in order to reduce girls’ and women’s disproportionate vulnerability to HIV infection. 
  • Deep-seated ‘cultural scripts’ that dictate how women and men negotiate sexual behaviour must be well understood and, in some cases, changed; 6 the social and structural drivers of HIV infection must be addressed alongside biomedical interventions in order to have a lasting positive impact on prevention. 
  • A sustainable way to provide lifelong care and treatment for all children must be found; a generation of adolescents living with HIV is coming of age. 
  • Few pathways to prevention, care and support that specifically address their needs. 
  • Obstacles to preventing tuberculosis (TB)-HIV co-infection among children (and their parents) must be overcome; isoniasid preventive therapy is one such preventive measure, as is the expansion of antiretroviral therapy (ART). 
  • Young people must be engaged in the fight against AIDS, given their important role in behaviour change and service uptake.
Source : UNICEF
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