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International AIDS Conference an 'Expensive Talking Shop' Unless More Done for Children
Date:8/1/2008

- World Vision calls for action to protect, care for children impacted by

HIV and AIDS - Mexico City event a chance to spur help for millions of orphans and

vulnerable children

MEXICO CITY, Aug. 1 /PRNewswire/ -- A leading humanitarian agency has today warned that the world's biggest conference on HIV and AIDS will miss the mark unless attendees come away making firm commitments to end mother-to-child transmission of the disease, increase access to pediatric treatment and extend care for affected children.

World Vision, a Christian relief and development organization with HIV and AIDS programs in more than 60 countries, says participants in the XVII International AIDS Conference (IAC) in Mexico City should put children at the focus of their discussions. Fifteen million children have been orphaned by the pandemic, and thousands are infected each week while treatment and care lag that of adults.

"This is a top forum for hearing important new scientific research and for productive, structured dialogue on the major challenges facing the global response to AIDS," said Martha Newsome, director of World Vision's HIV and AIDS Hope Initiative. "However, as is often the case with global conferences like this one, the needs of children are too low on the agenda.

"Almost 1,200 children a day under the age of 15 are newly infected with HIV - around 90 percent of those from mother-to-child transmission, which is preventable. Organizers expect 22,000 people to attend this conference, from field workers to government ministers. Imagine if each of those made reducing mother-to-child transmission of HIV their personal goal?

"As a global community we should be ashamed that 9 out of every 10 HIV positive children get the virus from their mothers during pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding, a particular tragedy because mother-child transmission can be safely stopped. Prevention se
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SOURCE World Vision U.S.
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