International Group Proposes Plan to Expand Pediatric HIV/AIDS Care and Treatment in Ethiopia

February 7, 2006

NEW YORK, NY — Representatives of children’s organizations, the Government of Ethiopia, as well as private donors, and national and international HIV/AIDS experts met Jan. 25-27, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to develop recommendations to expand access to pediatric HIV/AIDS care and treatment in the country. The conference was hosted by Ethiopia’s Federal Ministry of Health, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health’s International Center for AIDS Care and Treatment Programs (ICAP) – Ethiopia, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – Ethiopia, and the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.

—less than one percent of those in need—are receiving this life-saving therapy. Without antiretroviral treatment, 75 percent of HIV-infected children will die before their fifth birthday.

Conference participants examined the current state of pediatric HIV/AIDS care and treatment in Ethiopia, guided by results of an analysis conducted by the Federal Ministry of Health and ICAP-Ethiopia. The conference also included presentations from national and international experts on existing successes in pediatric HIV/AIDS care and treatment in Ethiopia, Rwanda, Uganda, Zambia, and the United States. Participants drew upon these experiences to form 20 specific recommendations to expand pediatric HIV/AIDS care and treatment in Ethiopia, focusing on four key areas: entry points to care and treatment, care of HIV-exposed and HIV-infected infants and children, pediatric antiretroviral therapy, and laboratory and drug supply challenges. In the closing session, representatives of the Federal Ministry of Health, CDC-Ethiopia, and ICAP-Ethiopia expressed their commitment to jointly implementing these recommendations.

For more information about the conference or the ICAP-Ethiopia program, please see http://www.columbia-icap.org/ethiopia.