UNICEF, UNAIDS Launch Campaign To Increase Global Support for Children Affected, Orphaned By HIV/AIDSUNICEF, UNAIDS and other partners on Tuesday launched a campaign to garner funding and support for children affected by HIV/AIDS, the Chicago Tribune reports. The campaign -- called Unite for Children, Unite Against AIDS -- will focus on reducing the incidence of mother-to-child HIV transmission, curbing the spread of the virus among young people, and providing protection and emotional and financial support to children who have lost parents to AIDS (Goering, Chicago Tribune, 10/25). "The needs of children are being overlooked when strategies on HIV prevention and treatment are drafted, policies made and budgets allocated," according to a new report released Tuesday to launch the campaign (Dixon, Los Angeles Times, 10/25). Roughly 15 million children have lost one or both parents to AIDS, and only 10% of those children receive any public support (UNICEF release, 10/25). In addition, children under age 15 account for one-sixth of AIDS-related deaths worldwide and one-seventh of new HIV infections. About 85% of all HIV-positive children under age 15 live in sub-Saharan Africa (Lederer, AP/Long Island Newsday, 10/25). While the campaign's focus primarily is on sub-Saharan Africa, UNICEF says that 80% of HIV-positive people living in Central Asia and Eastern Europe are under age 30 and that the disease is spreading more quickly in those regions than anywhere else in the world (BBC News, 10/25).
"Nearly 25 years into the pandemic, help is reaching less than 10% of the children affected by HIV/AIDS, leaving too many children to grow up alone, grow up too fast or not grow up at all," U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said, adding, "Simply put, AIDS is wreaking havoc on childhood" (UNICEF release, 10/25). "The size of the problem is staggering, but the scale of the response has been inadequate," UNICEF Executive Director Ann Veneman said (AP/Long Island Newsday, 10/25). Veneman urged the international community to spend $33 billion over the next five years from current pledges and additional funds to help the campaign's efforts (Leopold, Reuters UK, 10/25). "We want everybody to be partners in this (program)," including U.N. agencies, governments, companies and members of the public, David Bull, executive director of UNICEF UK, said (Xinhuanet, 10/25). A 30-second video is scheduled to be projected onto the side of the New York-based U.N. headquarters on Tuesday to mark the official launch of the campaign (Agence France-Presse, 10/24).