Realise the rights of children and adolescents at the 2021 High Level Meeting on HIV

As governments around the world prepare to meet next week at the 2021 High Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS,  the Coalition for Children Affected by AIDS is calling for children and adolescents to be prioritised. In  particular, adolescent parents and their children, the children of key populations, and other children and  adolescents facing social and structural exclusion must be at the centre of commitments to end AIDS and  tackle its impacts. These are the children and adolescents left behind.   

The global response for children and adolescents living with HIV has been gravely inadequate. Even prior  to the COVID-19 pandemic, the paediatric targets set by the 2016 High Level Meeting were either missed or  well off-track. UNAIDS recently acknowledged that the gap between the treatment coverage rate for  children (53%) and adult treatment coverage (68%) “represents nothing less than a global failure.” 

COVID-19 has exacerbated inequalities and barriers to HIV services for children and adolescents. This new  pandemic is creating an unprecedented disruption in services. It threatens decades of progress made in  reducing vertical transmission and improving access to paediatric testing and treatment. And threatens  the broader health, well-being and education of children and adolescents – the impacts of which will be  felt across their lifetime. 

We have the evidence, we know what works; what we need now is leadership! Children, adolescents,  families, policy makers, practitioners and scientists are united behind what is needed and what works.  The Coalition for Children Affected by AIDS – 28 global thought leaders from organisations operating  around the world, including young people and caregivers directly affected by HIV – has created a  consensus document of policy recommendations. They are based on scientific and programmatic  evidence on what is needed and what works. 

Read the policy recommendations here.

The Global AIDS strategy sets out targets and priority actions to end AIDS in children and adolescents. This Political Declaration is a key opportunity for governments to deliver on it. 

  1. UNAIDS, 2020, Evidence Review – Implementation of the 2016–2021 UNAIDS Strategy: on the Fast Track to end AIDS – 
  2. The Coalition for Children Affected by AIDS (2021) Prioritising Children, Adolescents and Caregivers  Affected by HIV in the COVID-19 Response