ACT is an ambitious $200 million initiative to double the number of children receiving lifesaving antiretroviral therapy (ART) across 10 priority African countries over the next two years. This new initiative will enable 300,000 more children to receive ART.
“We cannot continue to conduct business as usual if we want to end the AIDS epidemic,” said Charles Lyons, EGPAF president and CEO. “We must invest in new pediatric diagnostic tools and antiretroviral formulations for the 3.2 million children who are currently living with HIV. Children can’t be treated as miniature adults—they require medicines, care, and support that are age-appropriate and effective for their specific needs.”
Children have been left behind in the global effort to scale up treatment for HIV/AIDS, with only one quarter of children living with HIV able to access ART. This partnership takes a major step forward in narrowing that gap. And the need to improve access is urgent— without treatment half of all HIV-infected children die before their second birthday.
“We hope that when African leaders return home, this new investment in pediatrics will help countries continue to build strong health systems with the needs of HIV-positive children and their families in mind. We must support effective local leadership to ensure a viable and efficient health system that not only eliminates pediatric AIDS, but also improves the overall health of women, children, and their families. An AIDS-free generation cannot be achieved and sustained without this crucial component,” said Lyons.
Today’s announcement reaffirms the longstanding commitment of the U.S. government and its partners to deepen ties between the United States and Africa and continue to invest in the continent’s future. Investing in Africa’s health will also accelerate its economic development, education outcomes, and efforts to improve safety and security. At EGPAF, we will continue to support these efforts until no child has AIDS.
EGPAF is the global leader in the fight against pediatric HIV/ AIDS and has reached 20 million women with services to prevent transmission of HIV to their babies. It currently supports more than 7,000 health facilities and works in 15 countries to implement prevention, care, and treatment services; to further advance innovative research; and to execute global advocacy activities that bring dramatic change to the lives of millions of women, children, and families worldwide. For more information, visit www.pedaids.org.