Prioritising children in the global response to HIV and AIDS
|Click on the document title below to read/download the edition: Adobe Acrobat Reader is required to view this document. Click Here if you do not have it.|
Delivering... for children
The world has now been living with HIV and AIDS for more than a quarter of a century.
When the first handful of cases was reported in June 1981, who could have predicted the devastating global impact of the virus and the dramatic effect it would have on international development work?
It has been 25 years of learning, and of trying to catch up as the virus hurtled across the globe at a terrifying pace. In the global response to the pandemic over the past two-and-a-half decades, however, something has been clearly absent. Children � the most vulnerable members of society � remain on the periphery of the world's response. In the areas of prevention, care and treatment, children and youth are still at the bottom of the priority list or off the agenda entirely. That marginalisation places at risk not only millions of young lives, but the future of many societies as well. And, given the suffering of orphans and vulnerable children, it is unconscionable.
This August, as decision-makers, scientists, practitioners and leaders convene in Toronto for the sixteenth International AIDS Conference, it is morally and strategically imperative that children and young people move to the core of the global response to HIV and AIDS. The conference theme, �Time to Deliver�, is a good reminder that it is indeed time to re-assess global priorities and increase our vigilance to ensure that what, and how, we �deliver� reaches the youngest and most vulnerable members of society.
In this edition of Global Future, our contributing writers bring into focus some critical aspects of �prioritising children�. Stephen Lewis compellingly links the widespread neglect of children with the gross inequality in our world. Benn, Toole and other contributors highlight the lack of diagnostic tests and anti-retroviral drugs for children; Kean and Bacon point to the glaring gap between the sweet rhetoric of pledged support and the bitter reality that it has failed to materialise for children. More aid? yes, but it must translate into real interventions for children.
Prioritising children in HIV and AIDS response at every level from the local to the global will reduce the vulnerability of children, help arrest the spread of HIV, and help guarantee a more stable and secure future for entire societies. Our children and young people deserve nothing less.