Children Affected By HIV/AIDS Neglected, UNAIDS Says
Children affected by HIV/AIDS do not receive enough care and support, UNAIDS said Thursday ahead of the third Global Partners' Forum in London, Reuters reports. The forum, hosted by UNICEF and the U.K. Department for International Development, is bringing together advocates from 50 countries and 90 international organizations to address ways to improve policies that support children affected by HIV/AIDS. According to UNAIDS, less than 10% of children who have lost a parent to AIDS-related causes receive support (Reuters, 2/9). In addition, pediatric antiretroviral drugs can cost six times as much as antiretrovirals for adults, UNAIDS Executive Director Peter Piot said. Peter McDermott, head of UNICEF's HIV/AIDS department, said drug companies have ignored pediatric antiretrovirals because the market for them is too small and because it is difficult to predict how much will be needed. Also, drug companies know that if programs to prevent mother-to-child transmission are successful, the demand for pediatric HIV drugs will dwindle, McDermott said (Batha, Reuters AlertNet, 2/9). The forum will focus on ways to strengthen the capacity of families of children orphaned by or made vulnerable to HIV/AIDS; mobilize community-based efforts to support families affected by the disease; ensure equal and universal access to education; and push for universal access to HIV prevention, treatment and care (UNAIDS release, 2/9). DFID said it plans to meet with pharmaceutical companies to examine ways to accelerate the development of low-cost and effective pediatric antiretroviral drugs (Reuters AlertNet, 2/9).
Vietnam News/Asia News Network Examines Street Children in Vietnam
Vietnam News/Asia News Network on Wednesday examined community efforts to support street children in Vietnam who are living with or vulnerable to HIV/AIDS. UNICEF, the Vietnamese government and other international organizations have helped to establish rehabilitation centers and social welfare institutions that provide medical treatment, support and job training for HIV-positive youth, Vietnam News/Asia News Network reports. Voluntary testing and counseling centers also have been established to provide communication and education services to help vulnerable young people avoid contracting the disease. However, UNICEF says children, particularly street children, still are neglected in Vietnam's fight against HIV/AIDS, according to Vietnam News/Asia News Network. To address the issue, UNICEF -- along with the Community for Population, Family and Children and other partners -- in March will host the first East Asia and Pacific Regional Consultation on Children and AIDS in the Vietnamese capital of Hanoi, Vietnam News/Asia News Network reports (Van/Dung, Vietnam News/Asia News Network, 2/8).