Children and adolescents (aged 0–19) make up one-third of the world’s population, but they are 100 per cent of the world’s future. More rapidly than ever before, we must deliver results to our youngest citizens so that we can achieve an AIDS-free generation. Here are a few ways UNICEF is working with partners to tackle HIV and AIDS throughout the world.
Sometimes health services are too hard to reach. Identifying barriers and finding solutions that support women, children and adolescents to stay on #HIV treatment is not easy, but it can save lives. Using mentors in the community, mobile phones and bicycles to follow up on people and their appointments are a few ways UNICEF is working with partners like MAC AIDS Fund and the governments of Norway and Sweden to make health care easier for new mothers where new HIV infections are high.
Advocating Healthy Habits
Just playing with babies develops their brains in ways that last into adulthood. Adversity in early life, including exposure to HIV, can have lifelong, damaging effects on learning and behavior. UNICEF is working with the Hilton Foundation to build understanding of the critical importance of the early years of life to policy makers, practitioners and caregivers. This is the crux of improving the lives of children, especially those who are born into adversity.
Quick and Early Diagnosis
HIV advances quickly in babies, making early diagnosis the difference between life and death. Early infant diagnosis is the first step in keeping babies living with HIV healthy and supporting their mothers. UNICEF is working with UNITAID to offer early and rapid diagnosis to save lives.
Innovation, Innovation, Innovation
The AIDS response has seen dramatic progress and innovations since the turn of the century. As a result, a majority of pregnant women living with #HIV in all low- and middle-income countries are receiving treatment to remain healthy and to prevent HIV transmission to infants – averting 1.3 million new infections among children and keeping their mothers alive and healthy. This is one of the great successes of the AIDS response, and the Millennium Development Goals.
With each passing year, science provides us with new tools, and experience on the ground informs our approach, making ending AIDS by 2030 a real possibility. By reflecting, we gain clarity. By innovating, we improve results. Now we enter the era of the Sustainable Development Goals – a springboard to ending AIDS. With simplified, more efficient and cost-effective methods, many of the hurdles are behind us. Frontloading investments – both domestic and international – into proven interventions is needed if we are to achieve an AIDS-free generation for children and adolescents.