As the global community continues to make significant progress on scaling up access to adult HIV and AIDS testing and treatment services, more than 120,000 children continue to die each year from AIDS-related causes. Additionally, over 13,000 children are newly infected each month.
These terrible statistics compelled Cardinal Peter Turkson to convene a dialogue on Diagnosis and Treatment of Paediatric HIV on December 6-7, 2018. The event will take place at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences in the Vatican.
The Cardinal, who is Prefect of the Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development, will address CEOs of pharmaceutical and diagnostic companies. The event is part of the Holy See’s drive to assure optimal drugs formulations and testing tools for infants, children, and adolescents living with HIV.
Building on consultations in April and May 2016 and November 2017, the meeting, fully titled High-Level Dialogue to Assess Progress on and Intensify Commitment to Scaling Up Diagnosis and Treatment of Paediatric HIV, will be organized by the co-chairs of the AIDS Free Working Group of the Start Free, Stay Free and AIDS Free Framework, PEPFAR, UNAIDS, in collaboration with partners of the AIDS Free Working Group, including Caritas Internationalis and the World Council of Churches-Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance.
Participants will include leaders of major diagnostic and pharmaceutical companies, multilateral organizations, governments, regulators, and faith-based and other organizations who provide services to children living with HIV.
There are two main aims of the meeting. First, to address bottlenecks that limit access to Early Infant Diagnostic products and programs. Second, to scale up strategies that can help quickly identify HIV-exposed children and link them to testing and treatment services. In addition, the Dialogue will be an opportunity to assess progress on achieving the commitments made by participants in 2017.
Participants in the Dialogue will agree to a plan of action. This will:
- introduce and scale-up optimized diagnostics and case-finding strategies for HIV,
- address how to intensify commitments in key challenging areas, including formulations development,
- look at regulatory approval of optimal formulations and diagnostic products.