Currently, 38 million people live with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) worldwide—2.8 million are children (0-19 years). Due to missed opportunities of prevention, early diagnosis, and treatment, children living with HIV have poorer HIV treatment coverage than adults, and comprise a higher proportion of AIDS-related deaths (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). In 2020, an estimated 850 children were newly infected and around 330 died due to AIDS-related causes each day.
Additionally, tuberculosis (TB) is the leading cause of death in people living with HIV. In 2020, 1.5 million people died from TB including 214,000 people living with both HIV and TB. An estimated 226,000 children (0-14 years) died of TB in 2020 including children with HIV-associated TB. More than 80% of childhood TB deaths occur in those under the age of five. Similar to challenges in reaching children infected by HIV, child and adolescent TB is often overlooked by health providers and can be difficult to diagnose and treat.*
Save the Children supports expanded access to comprehensive HIV prevention, care, treatment, and support services for children, women, and families, and key populations affected by HIV, focusing on countries with high rates of HIV and/or low levels of treatment and care. We work with governments, community-based groups, non-governmental local organizations, and donor institutions like the Global Fund, PEPFAR, UNICEF, UNAIDS, and the private sector to provide quality HIV programs.
Our HIV prevention efforts expand access to quality information, services, and networks to reduce the risk of acquiring or transmitting HIV. We work with parents, teachers, and religious leaders to ensure children and adolescents get the help they need, and promote youth-friendly interventions that can help them to make healthy decisions and adopt protective practices. We advocate for a combination of testing services and prevention strategies, including: prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT), medications to reduce risk of HIV transmission (including pre-exposure prophylaxis), and behavior change actions, including use of condoms, low-risk sex, sex with partners of the same HIV status, and not having sex.
Care, Support & Treatment
Our programs focus on ensuring that HIV-positive children and adolescents are provided with a holistic package of treatment, care, and support services at all levels, improving not only their health, but also their social and economic status, and overall wellbeing. We improve community- and home-based care and support linkages to clinical services. Finally, using an integrated healthcare approach, we provide HIV and AIDS clinical care and services, including treatment of opportunistic infections and TB/HIV co-infections for adults and children.
Our TB work focuses on increasing case detection, treatment, and follow-up care among vulnerable populations, including people living with both HIV and TB, adults, adolescents, and children. We use family-centered approaches, strengthen linkages and referral systems between facilities, and work with the community and local organizations to mobilize, raise awareness, and strengthen institutional capacities and national data reporting related to TB. In support of global efforts, we are dedicated to the World Health Organization’s End TB Strategy goal of reaching zero TB deaths through preventive and curative measures among children and their guardians, and to enhance TB elimination programs in high-burden countries.
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