MSF calls for scale-up of pediatric HIV care
Nine out of ten children with HIV do not have access to life-saving antiretroviral drugs. Governments and donors need to be more ambitious in bringing existing pediatric HIV tests and drugs to the children who need them, says the medical humanitarian organization Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). This lack of treatment is particularly threatening for babies who are born with the virus because half of them will die before their second birthday if untreated.
An estimated 1.9 million children are in need of antiretroviral treatment, but only around 200,000 are able to get the medicines they need. MSF calls on governments and donors to roll out existing tests faster, and to considerably increase the use of a pediatric version of a standard fixed-dose combination (FDC) drug — a pill that combines all needed drugs in one tablet. “It was when we introduced this easy-to-use pill that we were able to boost the number of children on antiretroviral treatment in our projects,” said Dr Tido von Schoen-Angerer, Director of MSF's Campaign for Access to Essential Medicines. “We are showing that HIV care for children is possible. We challenge governments and donors to set ambitious goals and stop abandoning the majority of children with HIV to their fate.”