There are 3.4 million children living with HIV and millions more affected by HIV, including children who have lost one or more parent due to AIDS related illnesses.
The Coalition for Children Affected by AIDS believes that children are a vulnerable population that has too often been overlooked. The Coalition exists to advocate for children to be a higher priority in the HIV response and brings expertise from a broad range of organisations to address gaps in knowledge and service structures in order to improve the lives of children and their families.
The Alliance’s senior adviser for children and families, Kate Iorpenda, is the chair of the Coalition. Its current strategy is focused on how the response can reach more children earlier to reduce the impacts of HIV.
“We’re looking at ways the response can shift from a reactive model to be more proactive, or preventative. Too often we only become aware of a child affected by HIV when they become distressed or disadvantaged. We need to be acting sooner.”
“If current eligibility criteria for services includes trauma, abuse or being HIV positive, than that says to us that there was an opportunity to act to prevent that abuse, trauma or infection taking place.”
The new strategy aims to highlight the critical opportunities in the early part of a child’s life for action that can mitigate the impacts of HIV.
The Alliance is identifying opportunities for more proactive interventions in early childhood in its programming with children and families.