HIV and the Millennium Development Goals

Prendergast, Andrew J.; Essajee, Shaffiq; Penazzato, Martina
February 2015
Archives of Disease in Childhood;Feb2015, Vol. 100 Issue Supp1, ps48
Academic Journal
Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 6 has two HIV/ AIDS commitments: to have halted and begun to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS by 2015 and to ensure access to treatment among all those in need by 2010. Given the almost universal lack of access to HIV testing, prevention and treatment for children in high prevalence countries in 2000, the achievements of the past 15 years have been extraordinary, fuelled by massive donor investment, strong political commitment and ambitious global targets; however, MDG 6 is some way from being attained. Prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) services have expanded enormously, with new infections among children falling by 58% between 2002 and 2013. There has been a shift towards initiation of lifelong antiretroviral therapy (ART) for pregnant and breastfeeding women, although low HIV testing rates in pregnancy, suboptimal PMTCT coverage and poor retention in care remain barriers to achieving HIV elimination among children. Early infant diagnosis has expanded substantially but, in 2013, only 44% of all HIV-exposed infants were tested before 2 months of age. Diagnosis of HIV, therefore, frequently occurs late, leading to delays in ART initiation. By the end of 2013, approximately 760000 children were receiving ART, leading to 40% decline in AIDS-related mortality. However, only 24% of HIV-infected children were receiving ART, compared with 36% of adults, leading to a 'treatment gap'. In this review, we summarise progress and remaining challenges in reaching MDG 6 and discuss future strategies to achieve the ambitious goals of paediatric HIV elimination and universal access to treatment.


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