Pediatric group seeks better access to HIV/AIDS treatment for children
The awards honor countries and pharmaceutical companies that have actively participated in improving the creation and uptake of pediatric antiretroviral drugs. These drugs are crucial to saving children who have HIV infections around the world.
Approximately 2.6 million children have HIV infections, but only an estimated one-third of them can access the drugs to save their lives. When the children don’t receive treatments, they will die before they reach 2 years old. An estimated 80 percent of them will die before they reach 5 years old.
“PEPFAR is deeply committed to expanding children’s access to HIV/AIDS treatment,” Ambassador Deborah Birx, U.S. Global AIDS coordinator, said. “Last year we launched the Accelerating Children’s HIV/AIDS Treatment (ACT), a bold initiative to do just that. We are encouraged by ongoing efforts to make better products for children available as quickly as possible. But our work is far from done — and we look forward to recognizing countries and pharmaceutical companies that are taking bold steps to save and improve the lives of HIV-positive children.”
Improving access to the drugs will help children by decreasing infection rates and reducing death rates.
“We need to do more to shorten a yawning gap between medical advances and the availability of the best treatments for children infected with HIV in regions such as sub-Saharan Africa where there are hundreds of HIV-related deaths among children every day,” UNITAID Executive Director Lelio Marmora said. “Without the right incentives, paediatric medicines will not reap the benefits that we have seen for adult treatments. This is not an acceptable situation when we consider that there are almost no new infections among children in high-income countries.”