World AIDS day

Every year on the 1st of December the whole world comes together to raise awareness on one of the worst epidemics in history. Since the 1980’s scientists, researchers, policymakers and the international community have worked to find a way to end to this pandemic. Although great progress has been made with awareness and Antiretroviral therapy (ART) more available, the progress for children and adolescents is still falling behind.

Children and adolescents in Africa are carrying the biggest burden of this pandemic. In Eastern and Southern Africa alone there is an estimated 1.2 million children living with HIV. Sub-Saharan Africa is home to 88% of the world’s 2.6 million HIV-positive children (0–14 years).

A recent report by RIATT-ESA ‘Resourcing Resilience: The case for social protection for adherence and HIV-related outcomes in children and adolescents in Eastern and Southern Africa’ showed evidence that children and adolescents struggle to initiate and remain on Antiretroviral therapy. With adolescents reporting a lower rate ART adherence, lower than children and adults. “Since the year 2000, adolescent AIDS-related deaths have tripled in Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA), while declining in all other age groups.”

The report suggests the provision of child- and adolescent-sensitive Social Protection may address the complex vulnerabilities, disadvantages and risk of children and youth, and foster resilience. As well as providing combinations of social protection, particularly ‘cash plus care’ has greater potential for improving health outcomes among children and adolescents.

UNAIDS’ hands up for #HIVprevention campaign explores the different aspects of HIV prevention. It will also explore how to address the barriers that prevent the most vulnerable populations and people living with HIV from accessing and using available services.

RIATT-ESA joins this campaign with a call for Child Sensitive Social Protection