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HIV and AIDS

*NEW CAMPAIGN: Prescription for Life: Take action to help children living with HIV*

HIV and AIDS rivals poverty and exceeds war as a threat to the lives of millions of children in the developing world. Coordinated action must be taken to protect the rights of children infected and affected by HIV and AIDS to treatment, prevention and care.

The facts are startling:

  • As of December 2005 40.3 million people living with HIV, of which 2.3 million are children.
  • 4.9 million people newly infected with HIV in 2005, of which 700,000 are children under 15 years of age.
  • There were 3.1 million AIDS related deaths in 2005, of which 570,000 were children under 15 years of age.
  • Every 14 seconds, another parent dies of AIDS, leaving behind an orphaned child.

The epidemic is spreading through countries and across continents, threatening to undermine decades of progress in social and economic development. Unless the world takes urgent account of the specific impact of AIDS on children there will be no chance of meeting Millennium Development Goals (MDG) 6 - to halt and begin to reverse the spread of the disease by 2015. Failure to meet the goal on HIV and AIDS will adversely affect the world’s chances of progress on the other MDGs.

HIV and AIDS and the Convention on the Rights of the Child

Although the CRC does not specifically mention HIV and AIDS, there are provisions in the treaty that offer children protection from the consequences of HIV and AIDS. including the ones mentioned here. Oftentimes, children who suffer of whose parents suffer from HIV and AIDS are subject to stigma and discrimination. Under article 2 there is the right to non-discrimination on numerous grounds, including race, colour, sex and other status. HIV and AIDS falls under the latter. Children have the right to the treatment of illness under article 24. The State has the obligation to fulfill these rights.

In November 2003 the Committee on the Rights of the Child adopted its General Comment No. 3 on "HIV/AIDS and the Rights of the Child."

For more information

Read our Special CRINMAIL 836

Visit the website of the World AIDS Campaign

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