The Global Alliance to end AIDS in children

Over the past decade, the global community of HIV stakeholders has coordinated efforts to address these inequities and challenges launching two major global initiatives to eliminate vertical HIV transmission and end paediatric AIDS. From 2011 to 2015, the Global Plan towards the Elimination of New HIV Infections Among Children by 2015 and Keeping Their Mothers Alive (“Global Plan”) was largely successful in increasing national and global attention to the prevention of vertical transmission. Following the end of the Global Plan, in 2016, the Start Free Stay Free AIDS Free Partnership (3-Frees) was created to build on the initial success and expand the focus to include treatment for children and HIV prevention among adolescents and young women. However, despite some successes the 3-Frees partnership had limited global impact due to challenges in sustaining long-term leadership, lack of consistent funding, and insufficient engagement with national leaders and communities of women living with HIV.

Year on year, the same poor progress has been reported towards global and national targets for children and adolescents. Despite available, affordable and highly effective tools and programming strategies to diagnose and treat HIV among children, adolescents and pregnant and breastfeeding women, large service gaps for these populations remain. The launch of a new Global AIDS Strategy in 2021 and last year’s Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS provides an opportunity to redirect our attention and redouble our efforts to end AIDS in children.

To this end, UNAIDS, networks of people living with HIV, UNICEF and WHO together with technical partners, PEPFAR and Global Fund propose a new Global Alliance to end AIDS in children, which seeks the broad participation of stakeholders, national governments, implementing agencies, regional and country-based organizations, faith-based and community partners including women children and adolescents living with HIV. It will measure progress towards the bold targets of the SDGs and focus on the priority actions for children defined in the new Global AIDS Strategy 2021-2026. The Alliance will seek to apply the lessons learned from the Global Plan and the Three-Frees framework to amplify what worked and avoid some of the pitfalls of past initiatives.