New Global Alliance To End AIDS In Children By 2030

The new Global Alliance for Ending AIDS in Children by 2030 was announced by leading figures at the International AIDS Conference taking place in Montreal, Canada.

Phiona (38 yrs) at her home with her youngest son. Phiona works as a Peer Mother at the Rugaga IV Health Centre in Uganda. Through the program, a number of peer mothers have been trained, mentored and facilitated to support mothers to deliver HIV free babies. The peer mothers provide counseling, psychosocial support to HIV positive mothers and their spouses, “It makes it easier for people when you visit them, you talk to them and introduce yourself and share your own story with HIV. It brings trust between you and that person. It gives them assurance that you are all the same, it makes the fear go away and gives them courage to keep coming to you for assistance.” - Phiona. Through the breakthrough partnership, UNICEF and its partners have helped train primary health care and community service providers in case finding, using multiple approaches, to reach undiagnosed children of all people living with HIV. 21 April 2022 photo: UNICEF/Schermbrucker

Globally, only half (52%) of children living with HIV are on life-saving treatment, far behind adults where three-quarters (76%) are receiving antiretrovirals, according to the data that has just been released in the UNAIDS Global AIDS Update 2022.

Concerned by the stalling of progress for children, and the widening gap between children and adults, UNAIDS, UNICEF, WHO and partners have brought together a global alliance to ensure that no child living with HIV is denied treatment by the end of the decade and to prevent new infant HIV infections.

The new Global Alliance for Ending AIDS in Children by 2030 was announced by leading figures at the International AIDS Conference taking place in Montreal, Canada.

In addition to the United Nations agencies, the alliance includes civil society movements, including the Global Network of People living with HIV, national governments in the most affected countries, and international partners, including PEPFAR and the Global Fund.

Twelve countries have joined the alliance in the first phase: Angola, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Consultations by the alliance have identified four pillars for collective action:

1)     Closing the treatment gap for pregnant and breastfeeding adolescent girls and women living with HIV and optimizing continuity of treatment;

2)     Preventing and detecting new HIV infections among pregnant and breastfeeding adolescent girls and women;

3)     Accessible testing, optimized treatment, and comprehensive care for infants, children, and adolescents exposed to and living with HIV;

4)     Addressing rights, gender equality, and the social and structural barriers that hinder access to services. 

Addressing the International AIDS Conference, Limpho Nteko from Lesotho shared how she had discovered she was HIV positive at age 21 while pregnant with her first child.

This led her on a journey where she now works for the pioneering women-led mothers2mothers programme. Enabling community leadership, she highlighted, is key to an effective response.

“We must all sprint together to end AIDS in children by 2030,” said Ms. Nteko. “To succeed, we need a healthy, informed generation of young people who feel free to talk about HIV, and to get the services and support they need to protect themselves and their children from HIV. mothers2mothers has achieved virtual elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV for our enrolled clients for eight consecutive years—showing what is possible when we let women and communities create solutions tailored to their realities.” 

The alliance will run for the next eight years until 2030, aiming to fix one of the most glaring disparities in the AIDS response. Alliance members are united in the assessment that the challenge is surmountable through partnership.