UNICEF Executive Director in Mexico for International AIDS Conference
MEXICO CITY, August 2008 - UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman is in Mexico City on the last leg of a twelve day, three-country mission. She is leading the UNICEF delegation to the 17th International AIDS Conference.
This year’s conference is marked by over 300 side events, many of them highlighting the impact HIV has on mothers and their children - a critical focus. In 2005, UNICEF and partners launched Unite for Children, Unite against AIDS campaign to highlight the impact of the AIDS pandemic on children.
“Children have been the missing face of the AIDS pandemic and this must change,” said Veneman. “Results will be measured in lives saved and lives improved.”
Globally AIDS has a distinctly young profile. Two million of the estimated 33 million people living with HIV in 2007 are under 15. In 2007, young people from 15 to 24 accounted for nearly 45 per cent of new HIV infections among people aged 15 and older. More than half of the HIV-positive infants die before their second birthday.
Unite for Children, Unite against AIDS focuses on preventing the spread of mother to child transmission during childbirth, pediatric AIDS treatment, protecting and supporting vulnerable children and education to prevent infections among adolescents.
UNICEF is leading a satellite session at the conference on the Unite for Children, Unite against AIDS initiative to discuss progress made and challenges remaining.
Prior to arriving in Mexico, Veneman visited Madagascar and Mozambique to review the situation of children. In each country, she met with government officials, and visited health, education and protection programs for children.
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