Statement by Charles Lyons, President and Chief Executive Officer
Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation
Agenda item 6: Gap analysis on paediatric HIV treatment, care and support
Thank you, Mr Chair.
My name is Chip Lyons, President and CEO of the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. For the past 25 years, EGPAF has worked to end pediatric HIV and AIDS in the United States and around the world. We applaud the release of this gap analysis on pediatric HIV treatment, care and support and thank UNAIDS for its leadership in addressing the treatment access gap in children.
Last December, our organization made an intervention at the PCB meeting noting the lack of emphasis on children in discussions about the strategic use of ARVs and ensuring patient access to treatment. Despite recognition that almost 300,000 children were being infected with HIV every year, few concrete recommendations and strategies were being put forward as to how to reach those children with the HIV care and treatment services they so desperately need.
EGPAF welcomes this report as a significant step forward in the fight to end pediatric AIDS. We were pleased to co-host the global consultation with UNAIDS, UNICEF and WHO that focused on the treatment gap for children and contributed to the development of this document. EGPAF strongly support the new 90-90-90 goals for children and the recognition that children are not just “little adults” – reaching the 90-90-90 goals for children will require new interventions, drugs and diagnostics specifically designed to address their unique needs.
EGPAF also welcomes additional actions that strengthen the overall approach to increasing pediatric ART access and uptake. Better understanding of how stigma, discrimination and structural barriers specifically affect children’s access to ART is critical to not only initiating treatment but also ensuring retention and adherence through childhood, adolescence, and into adulthood. In addition, EGPAF supports regular reporting on progress towards the pediatric 90-90-90 goals and using data disaggregated by age to determine whether efforts are successfully improving access for all children within the 0-14 age group.
This renewed emphasis on pediatric treatment builds on the success of the Global Plan towards the elimination of new HIV infections among children by 2015 and keeping their mothers alive, under the leadership of PEPFAR and UNAIDS and with the overwhelming commitment of African countries hardest hit by the AIDS epidemic.
Global Plan countries like Zimbabwe and South Africa have shown the world that with political will and dedicated financial resources, dramatic epidemiological results can be seen in what is relatively a short period of time.
EGPAF hopes that UNAIDS, its partners and Member States – indeed, all of us – will dedicate the type of political and programmatic resources required to get more children on treatment as we have to the goal of ending new pediatric HIV infections. Focused commitments – like PEPFAR’s new Accelerating Children’s HIV/AIDS Treatment initiative – are needed if we expect to achieve the dramatic results articulated in the pediatric treatment report presented today.
I end with a call that UNAIDS and its partners act collaboratively but also act with urgency. Half of children born with HIV who do not receive treatment will die by their second birthdays. There is simply no time for delay.
Thank you, Mr Chair.