PRI’s ‘The World’ Examines Increased Support for Antiretroviral Treatment for HIV-Positive African Children
Positive experiences providing antiretroviral treatment to children with HIV/AIDS in Uganda and other parts of Africa have "changed minds and attracted new support" for such programs, "The World" -- a co-production of BBC World Service, PRI and WGBH Boston -- reports. Some public health officials had argued that providing children with HIV/AIDS medicines should be a "low priority" because they are "less economically productive" than HIV-positive adults and their care is "more costly and complex," according to PRI. As a result, children have been "largely left behind" by HIV/AIDS treatment programs and drug companies produce "relatively few" formulations for children, requiring physicians to split pills and customize dosages, PRI reports. Shaffiq Essajee, a pediatrician at New York University and founder of an HIV/AIDS clinic for children in Mombasa, Kenya, said that fewer than 5% of children who need antiretroviral drugs worldwide are receiving them, and more than half of HIV-positive children die before the age of two, often before they are diagnosed (Fink, "The World," PRI, 11/23). A report released last week by UNAIDS and the World Health Organization estimates that of the approximately 3.1 million people who died of AIDS-related illnesses in 2005, 500,000 were children and 2.4 million lived in sub-Saharan Africa (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 11/21). UNAIDS, the Clinton Foundation and other agencies have announced new programs to fight HIV/AIDS among children in the developing world, but pediatricians in Africa say the attention is "long overdue" and the funding remains "inadequate," PRI reports. The segment includes comments from Mark Klein, director of the Pediatric AIDS Initiative at Baylor College of Medicine; Philippa Musoke, director of pediatrics at Uganda's Makerere University; and a Ugandan girl with HIV and malaria and her aunt who cares for her ("The World," PRI, 11/23).
The complete segment is available online in Windows Media.