Caritas Campaigning to Fight HIV in Kids

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ROME, MARCH 6, 2009 ( Caritas Internationalis wants a better effort to keep children from dying of AIDS, and says governments and pharmaceutical companies can do more to achieve the goal.

In a statement last week the aid agency launched an appeal for young people throughout the world to write to governments and pharmaceutical companies through resources available on its Web site.

The organization affirmed that governments and companies can scale up prevention of mother-to-child transmission, and eliminate the barriers that exclude women or children from diagnosis and treatment.

Francesca Merico, Caritas Internationalis delegate at the U.N. offices in Geneva, said: “Without adequate treatment, as many as one third of children born with HIV will die before their first birthday, and half of them will die before they are two years old.

“Pediatric anti-retroviral treatment for HIV and HIV/TB co-infection in children is not considered to be profitable as the market for pediatric anti-retroviral care exists mainly in poor countries. How can we allow profits to be given priority over people? We want political leaders to tell the children of the world how they have promoted and respected the child’s right to health.”

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