This week, the 19th International AIDS Conferenceâ€”AIDS 2012â€” is taking place in Washington D.C. This conference is the premiere biannual gathering for all those working or active in the field of HIV/AIDS. Here, participants take stock of the HIV response, share recent scientific developments, and collectively chart a course forward. For UNICEF, the conference is an opportunity to renew the commitment to achieve an AIDS-free generation by 2015.
For all the progress that has been made in HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, children are being left behind. While almost 50% of adults who need treatment are receiving it, only 23% of children are receiving the treatment they need. Each year, 370,000 children are newly infected with HIV, most of them during pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding.
The biggest step towards achieving an AIDS-free generation is the prevention of mother -to -child transmission. UNICEF is also aiming to reduce new infectionsÂ among adolescents and young people by half, and is working hard to ensure that every child and adolescent receives the treatment and support they need. When these three targets are met, we will have our first AIDS-free generation. Â
To kick off AIDS 2012,Â UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake and WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan co-chaired a leadership forum on innovations for eliminating new HIV infections among children. During the week-long conference, among other activities UNICEFÂ willÂ share resourcesÂ onÂ Â HIV prevention initiatives for adolescents with disabilities,Â and willÂ host a screening of Shuga, a television and radio series developedÂ in collaboration with MTV to spread HIV awareness amongÂ youth and adolescents.
What was once a dream, is now a reality: We have the tools and the know-how to achieve an AIDS-free generation by 2015. At AIDS 2012, UNICEF, along with everyone else, is working to get there.
For more information on the 19th International Aids Conference, visitÂ www.aids2012.orgÂ orÂ donate toÂ support UNICEF’s efforts to achieve an AIDS- free generation.