UN Launches Global Initiative To End Adolescent AIDS
World Bank President
The United Nations has launched a global initiative to end adolescent AIDS in the world.The new initiative which was launched yesterday at a United Nations meeting which involved world leaders in Nairobi, Kenya aims to end the second leading cause of death among young people worldwide.
While major advances have been made in almost every area of the response to the human immunodeficiency virus, just one in four children and adolescents under the age of 15 have access to life-saving treatment. And deaths are declining in all age groups, except among 10-19 year olds, according to the UN.
UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Executive Director Anthony Lake, who was speaking at the launch of a new platform for action to drive better results for adolescents by encouraging
changes in policy and engaging young people, said that children and young people should be the first to benefit from the progress being made in ending the epidemic.
He added that the ‘All In’ initiative, a partnership between UNAIDS [Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS] and UNICEF, aims to reach adolescents with HIV services designed for their specific needs and to fast-track progress to advance global efforts to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030.
Speaking further, he said there was need to reach the adolescents being missed and engage all young people in the effort to end adolescent AIDS. “In fact, we cannot achieve the goal of an AIDS-free generation without them” he added.
Also speaking, Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS, said HIV was the leading cause of death among adolescents in Africa and young women are most affected. He pressed further that this was a moral injustice. “I am calling on young people to lead the ‘All In’ movement, alongside the United Nations, public and private partners, and countries themselves, to end the adolescent AIDS epidemic,” he said.Meanwhile, UNAIDS has set new Fast-Track Targets to be achieved by 2020 for adolescents that include reducing new HIV infections by at least 75%, reducing AIDS-related deaths by 65% and achieving zero discrimination. Achieving these targets would put the world on track towards ending adolescent AIDS by 2030 and ending the global AIDS epidemic as a public health threat.
Most of the 2.1 million adolescents living with HIV in 2013 became infected at least 10 years ago, when their mothers were pregnant, during delivery or in the first months of life – at a time when antiretroviral medicines that can greatly reduce the possibility of HIV transmission were not available. Many were never diagnosed, fell out of treatment and care programmes.“