By Katie Sallee & Ashley Eure
The start of this month marked
the launch of Accelerating Children’s HIV/AIDS Treatment (ACT), an ambitious
new program that will double the amount of children with access to lifesaving
anti-retroviral therapy (ART) across ten strategic African countries over the
next two years. A joint investment from the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS
Relief (PEPFAR) and the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), ACT will
increase the number of children living with HIV who have access to treatment by
over 300,000 children.
This investment has the
potential to change the face of pediatric AIDS treatment, which has been marked
by poor coverage in the past. Of the 3.2 million children living with HIV last
year – 91 percent of whom reside in sub-Saharan Africa – only 24 percent were
able to access ART. Without lifesaving treatment, half of the children living
with HIV will die before their second birthday, and 80 percent will die before
their fifth birthday.
“This situation must be
changed,” said Ambassador Deborah L. Birx, M.D., U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator.
“Together, we must act swiftly, and with a focus on impact and geographic
efficiency, to hasten the day when no child dies of AIDS. PEPFAR is committed
to helping achieve an AIDS-free generation, and ACT is a bold step in that
ACT will target the countries
with the highest burden of pediatric HIV, the lowest access to pediatric
treatment, and the greatest disparity in treatment coverage for children compared
to adults living with HIV.
The PEPFAR-CIFF partnership will
jointly invest $200 million in ACT, $150 million from PEPFAR and up to $50 million
from CIFF. PEPFAR and CIFF have the shared goal of creating an AIDS-free
generation – reaching the “Getting to Zero” target goals of zero new infections
and zero children born with HIV. ART enables children who are HIV+ to make the
disease manageable and decreases the danger they face everyday.
For more information, click HERE.
To find out how you and your church can make a difference in the fight against
AIDS, follow this link to Saddleback’s six step strategy: What Can The Church Do.