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Commentary & Opinion
International Community Should "Not Forget" Importance of Treatment, Care for Children With HIV

December 7, 2012

The "progress and momentum" behind stopping mother-to-child HIV transmission is "reason to celebrate," Charles Lyons, president and CEO of the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, and Peter Twyman, CEO of Keep a Child Alive, write in The Hill's "Congress Blog." However, "as we set our sights on an AIDS-free generation, we must once again ensure that children currently living with HIV are not left behind," they state. "Unfortunately, we're not seeing the same level of progress with access to services for children who are already living with the virus," they write and describe the challenges children and their families face in gaining access to HIV treatment and care, including stigma and fear, antiretroviral drugs that are not formulated for children, and a lack of knowledge among some health care workers about how to use the drugs for children.

"Despite the challenges, there are reasons for optimism," Lyons and Twyman write, adding, "The United Nations-backed Global Plan to end new HIV infections in children and keep their mothers alive and healthy demonstrates a renewed commitment and focus on children and families affected by HIV." They note, "We're seeing the public, private, civil society and scientific communities working together to support the plan, and to find new answers, models, and more effective treatment options for infants and children. There are also continued efforts to care for the millions of children who have been orphaned by AIDS." They add, "On the heels of World AIDS Day, let's not forget the needs of children living with HIV globally" (12/6).

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