On 1 February 2023, ministers from 12 African countries met in Dar es Salaam to endorse Country Action Plans and make commitments for ending AIDS in children for each of the partner countries. This follows the announcement of the new Global Alliance to end AIDS in Children by 2030 at the International AIDS Conference in Montreal on 1 August 2022. The Global Alliance was proposed by UNAIDS, networks of people living with HIV, UNICEF and WHO together with PEPFAR and the Global Fund and seeks to achieve broad participation of stakeholders, national governments, implementing agencies, regional and community-based organizations, faith-based and community partners including women, children and adolescents living with HIV.
International partners have set out how they would support countries in delivering on those plans. Ministers and representatives laid out plans which include providing testing to more pregnant women and linking them to care, as well as finding and caring for infants and children living with HIV.
“This meeting has given me hope. An inequality that breaks my heart is that against children living with HIV, and leaders today have set out their commitment to the determined action needed to put it right,” said Winnie Byanyima, executive director of UNAIDS. “We cannot let children continue to be left behind in the global response to HIV and AIDS. Governments and partners can count on UNICEF to be there every step of the way,” said UNICEF Associate Director Anurita Bains.
Palliative care should begin at the time of diagnosis of HIV infection, as it aims to provide the active total care of the child’s body, mind and spirit, and also involves giving support to the family. Children and adolescents living with HIV infection experience a high burden of physical symptoms and emotional, social and spiritual issues throughout their life course and require significant support. Palliative care focuses on improving quality of life.