World Needs Strategy to Curb HIV Spread Among Children, Op-Ed Says
Programs to promote children's rights and increase community involvement must be implemented to curb the spread of HIV among children, Dr. Cesar Chelala, an international medical consultant and the author of "AIDS: A Modern Epidemic," writes in a Philadelphia Inquirer op-ed. While many AIDS programs have focused on eliminating mother-to-child HIV transmission, HIV/AIDS prevention programs have paid "scant attention" to the children and adolescents who contract HIV as a result of sexual abuse and exploitation. "Special activities" should be aimed at children living on the street and adolescents and children involved in the sex trade, for whom the rate of HIV infection is "very high," Chelala says. "To eliminate the scourge of AIDS in children and adolescents, it is necessary not only to persist on those strategies aimed at preventing HIV/AIDS in adults, but also to increase those actions that empower youngsters, increase their involvement in community actions, promote their rights and teach them their duties and responsibilities," Chelala writes, concluding, "AIDS is not only a health [problem], but a social and economic problem as well. Unless we address effectively this issue, we will continue to mortgage the future of today's children" (Chelala, Philadelphia Inquirer, 4/1).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.