Bring children in focus in battle against AIDS: UN | india | Hindustan Times
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Bring children in focus in battle against AIDS: UN

UN believes that children must be at the centre of a dramatically scaled up response to HIV/AIDS.

india Updated: Mar 23, 2006 14:25 IST

Children must be at the centre of a dramatically scaled up response to HIV/AIDS, which is spreading at a faster rate in East Asia than anywhere else, the UN has said.


"For the most part, children remain off the radar screen when we measure the risk and impact of HIV and AIDS," UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) director for East Asia and the Pacific, Anupama Rao, said at a high-level regional meet in Hanoi, Vietnam on Wednesday.


"This is no longer acceptable. We have an opportunity now to change the status quo for children by vastly accelerating our response and we must seize it," she said.


The three-day meeting of the East Asia and Pacific Regional Consultation on Children and AIDS, the first of its kind, brings together over 200 delegates from governments, civil society, UN agencies and donors.


The meet is expected to decide on urgently needed actions to stem the spread and mitigate the impact of HIV/AIDS among children and young people.


HIV and AIDS has caused immense suffering to children in East Asia and the Pacific, the UN said.


It estimated that by the end of last year, 450,000 children had lost one or both parents to AIDS, while hundreds of thousands were living with a chronically ill or dying parent.


According to the UN, more than 30,000 children were living with HIV or AIDS with nearly 11,000 of them newly infected last year. Millions more children and young people in the region are at high risk of HIV infection or suffer from stigma or discrimination, it said.