Despite the “bluster” of last month’s XVI International AIDS Conference in Toronto, there was “hardly a mention” of children and “stunning[ly] ... little attention was paid to them,” Ruthann Richter, Stanford University School of Medicine director of media relations, writes in a San Jose Mercury News opinion piece.
Although HIV/AIDS is “25 years old” and there are 2.3 million HIV-positive children in the world - many of whom live in sub-Saharan Africa - children “continue to be discriminated against on many fronts,” including lacking access to no-cost HIV testing and antiretroviral drugs, according to Richter.
In addition, 15 million children are “without the nurturing hand of a mother or father because AIDS has taken them away,” Richter writes, adding that only 3% to 5% of children who have lost at least one parent to AIDS-related illnesses receive government help.
One organization that “must be credited for advancing the cause of children” is the Clinton Foundation, which has helped reduce the price of and increase access to pediatric antiretrovirals, according to Richter.
However, most of the world “continues to turn its back on children,” Richter writes, adding, “Saving the younger generation is not only the right thing - the human thing - to do, but it is important for global security and stability” (Richter, San Jose Mercury News, 9/14).
Revision date: June 21, 2011
Last revised: by Janet A. Staessen, MD, PhD