New initiative announced to expand access to treatment for children in Africa

08 August 2014

The United States government has recently announced that the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), in partnership with the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), is planning to significantly increase the number of children who have access to life-saving antiretroviral therapy (ART) across ten priority African countries over the next two years.

The initiative, known as Accelerating Children’s HIV/AIDS Treatment (ACT) is an ambitious US$ 200 million effort that will help close the treatment gap for children living with HIV. ACT will aim to ensure 300 000 additional children living with HIV have access to treatment and care.

Globally, in 2013, there were 3.2 million children under the age of 15 living with HIV; most live in sub-Saharan Africa and 76% are without access to treatment. Children living with HIV are one third as likely to have access to treatment as adults. Without treatment, half of all children born with HIV will die before their second birthday and most will die before the age of five.

ACT will prioritize the countries with the highest burden of paediatric HIV, the lowest access to paediatric treatment, and the greatest disparity in treatment coverage for children compared to adults living with HIV.


"No child should be born with HIV and no child should die of an AIDS-related illness. For too long, children have been left behind, it’s time to step up the pace and ensure that all children everywhere have access to lifesaving treatment."

Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS


"This situation must be changed. Together; we must act swiftly, and with a focus on impact and geographic efficiency, to hasten the day when no child dies of AIDS. PEPFAR is committed to helping achieve an AIDS-free generation, and ACT is a bold step in that direction."

Ambassador Deborah L. Birx, US Global AIDS Coordinator


"ACT is the right thing to do, it will save children’s lives. It is also the smart thing to do. Healthy children who can pursue their dreams are Africa’s future – they will grow economies, create jobs, and contribute to their families and communities for decades to come."

Heather Higginbottom, US Deputy Secretary of State