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Off to a Poor Start

Off to a Poor Start

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The overall global effort to treat children born with HIV disease and prevent others from infection with the virus continues on a 'tragically insufficient' course--despite some countries' attempts to protect their young, members of the United Nations Children's Fund, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, and the World Health Organization charge in a report released in mid January. The report came on the one-year anniversary of the inception of the 'Unite for Children, Unite Against AIDS' program, which the groups had used to set targets for nations to implement plans within a year to deal with the ravages of HIV. Of the approximately 2.3 million HIV-infected children under 15 in 2005, the report states, only 10% were given the antiretroviral treatment they needed. And lack of treatment and prevention for women has left 15.2 million children--a number expected to balloon to 20 million by 2010--orphaned. The report also says that only seven countries (Argentina, Brazil, Botswana, Jamaica, Russia, Thailand, and Ukraine) provide anti-HIV medications to at least 40% of infected women to prevent mother-to-child transmission. And only seven (Botswana, Cape Verde, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Namibia, Rwanda, and Thailand) provide anti-HIV therapy to at least 20% of children who need it.

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