Pediatric AIDS Treatment Targets Must be Prioritized
Open Letter to Ambassador Deborah Birx, U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator
from Charles Lyons, Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation President and CEO
May 14, 2014 | Washington, D.C.
Dear Ambassador Birx:
Congratulations on your recent confirmation as U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator. I look forward to continuing our work with you to ensure that
children and their families have access to critical HIV prevention, care and treatment services through the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).
One of the most powerful testaments to the United States' commitment to ending the AIDS pandemic has been its efforts around children. It
is in that vein that I write to you today asking that you set aggressive targets to reach HIV-positive children with lifesaving treatments
as part of the global treatment target setting exercise President Obama cited in his World AIDS Day 2013 remarks and
bilateral targets required under PEPFAR legislation enacted last year.
Children continue to be left behind when it comes to HIV treatment access. Globally, 3.2 million children are living with
HIV, yet only 647,000 have access to antiretroviral therapy (ART). As you know, this is a matter of life and death for these
children - without ART, half of children born with HIV die by the age of 2, and 80 percent die by the age of 5.
The World Health Organization (WHO)'s 2013 guidelines for treating HIV infected children reinforce
the need to reach children as early as possible, recommending immediate initiation of ART for all HIV-positive children younger than 5.
Since inception of the PEPFAR program, HIV treatment targets have challenged the U.S. global HIV/AIDS response to
continuously expand and improve how it delivers services to the people who need them. Congress reaffirmed the power of targets
in the PEPFAR Stewardship and Oversight Act of 2013 , instructing
your office to establish and report on separate annual targets for children and adults under PEPFAR.
PEPFAR's strong and steady leadership is largely responsible for the historical gains made in eliminating new pediatric
HIV infections, and that bold leadership can also ensure that the millions of children living with HIV and AIDS get the medicines
they need to survive and thrive.
We urge you to push for meaningful, data-driven pediatric treatment targets as part of congressionally mandated PEPFAR
bilateral targets and as a part of the global HIV/AIDS target setting process currently underway. We ask that as part of these
efforts you consider pediatric treatment targets that address patient outcomes - such as adherence and retention - not just
initiation of ART. In addition, analyzing the needs of different age and gender groups within the pediatric population is
critical to understanding and addressing barriers to beneficiary access and uptake. For example, an infant in need of
HIV testing and treatment services faces significantly different barriers and challenges than an older child or an
adolescent. Therefore, we ask that you also prioritize collection and disaggregation of pediatric HIV treatment
data by gender and age to monitor how programs are being implemented and ensure effective and equitable treatment access.
Simply put, we can lay the foundation of an AIDS-free generation by ending AIDS in children. I thank you for your ongoing
commitment to children living with and affected by HIV and AIDS, and urge you to put the full weight of your office behind strong
bilateral and global pediatric HIV treatment targets.
View the official letter here.
About Project C.U.R.E
PROJECT C.U.R.E is a 25-year old U.S.-based international nonprofit organization that gives hope to millions of people by providing
customized, donated medical supplies, medical equipment, and related program services that empower doctors, nurses, and other
medical personnel in developing countries to provide quality medical care at clinics and
About the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation
The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation is a global leader in the fight
against pediatric HIV/AIDS, and has reached more than 18 million women with services to prevent transmission of HIV to their
babies. It currently supports more than 7,300 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.
Johanna Harvey, +1 (202) 280-1657, firstname.lastname@example.org
Racine Tucker-Hamilton, +1 (202) 448-8456, email@example.com
SOURCE: ELIZABETH GLASER PEDIATRICS AIDS FOUNDATION
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