Push to get Aids chil­dren treated first

Cape Argus - - NEWS - Yolisa Tswanya

CHIL­DREN aged be­tween zero and four are more likely to die than any other group of peo­ple liv­ing with HIV.

Last year, 120 000 chil­dren died in sub-Sa­ha­ran Africa of HIV/Aids-re­lated ill­nesses, the 13th in­ter­na­tional Aids im­pact con­fer­ence was told.

Pro­fes­sor Lor­raine Sherr, pro­fes­sor of Clin­i­cal and Health Psy­chol­ogy at Univer­sity Col­lege, Lon­don, and chair­per­son of the in­ter­na­tional sci­en­tific board, said part of the rea­son chil­dren were highly af­fected could be that they get sicker.

“We also know there is a lag in get­ting them tested and de­lays in get­ting them on treat­ment. The first 1 000 days of a child’s life are very im­por­tant and we want to push chil­dren to be first to be treated.”

Sherr said in terms of the epi­demic we were now in the “best and worst place” as there were treat­ments avail­able but things like stigma were still there. “Even gov­ern­ment and fun­ders don’t have Aids in the fore­front, it’s either they are tired of Aids, which is a bad thing, or Aids is just a fact of life.”

Stu­dent-re­searcher He­len Me­brahtu gave a pre­sen­ta­tion on HIV in chil­dren. She said they found that chil­dren are only phys­i­cally af­fected and not men­tally af­fected by HIV. The con­fer­ence will con­clude to­mor­row.

PIC­TURE: CINDY WAXA/ANA

CON­CERNED: At the Aids Im­pact Con­fer­ence at Canal Walk yes­ter­day were, from left, Noreen Huni, chief ex­ec­u­tive for Repssi, Clara Banya from Malawi, Pro­fes­sor Linda Richter and Pro­fes­sor Lor­raine Sherr.

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