Kaisernetwork.org Update From the XIV International AIDS Conference, July 10
A joint report from USAID, UNICEF, and UNAIDS called "Children on the Brink" says worldwide there are 13.4 million children orphaned by AIDS. That number is expected to grow to more than 25 million by 2010. By the end of this decade, it is estimated that in four African countries AIDS will orphan one in five children. Dr. Peter Piot, head of UNAIDS, called the report the most shocking of all of the troubling reports at this conference. He said AIDS has created an orphan crisis, and much as the virus that causes AIDS is transmitted from person to person, Piot said, "the stigma of an infected parent is transmitted to their orphaned children. Piot added: "When a father dies in war, his children are viewed as heroes, too. But when he dies of AIDS, the stigma and discrimination of the disease is passed on." Once again the scientific sessions underscored how difficult it is to treat this disease. Dr. Anthony Fauci, of the National Institutes of Health, said despite that difficulty, "no one should go without treatment, because treatment both extends and improves the quality of life for people living with AIDS." Other scientists showed data suggesting treatment is cost effective. South Africa's leading AIDS treatment activist asked delegates to look upon treatment and prevention as two sides of the same coin, not competitors for limited resources. Zackie Achmat videotaped his report because he was too sick to make the trip to Barcelona.This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.