Should more be done for children in the global fight against HIV and Aids?
Every minute, a child is infected with HIV and another child dies from an Aids-related illness, says the UN children's charity Unicef.
It is launching a global campaign, Unite For Children, Unite Against Aids to try and reverse what it calls years of neglect of youngsters either infected or affected by the disease.
Do you think that the global response has been inadequate regarding youngsters? Will the campaign bring change? Have you had any experience dealing with children, infected or affected by HIV/Aids?
This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.
The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:
So many people had talked about HIV/Aids in my ear for so long but I just couldn't believe that there was anything called HIV/Aids because I had never seen anyone who was affected. But then lately I saw a lady with my naked eyes at the hospital - that was when I really got to know that this virus exists. The global world should continue to spend billions of dollars to help with this problem around the world.
Francis K Eesiah, Point-Four, Liberia
We must concentrate our efforts in a new role for Africa, concerning economic issues. If the money that the world charities got was better used, then it should be applied in the improvement of the educational system and construction of a new Africa. Spending the money in emergency situations and forget any project to give steps towards the future this continent deserves, isn't a wise or intelligent measure.
Don't forget, Africa represents an unexploited consumer market. We need to introduce it in the world economy; it will represent the salvation for the world economy. Simple steps must begin to construct permanent institutions. Africans must glance this possible future.
Clodoaldo, Fortaleza, Brazil
The wealthy western world moans as petrol prices increase but this is not a life and death situation. Overlooking Aids' orphans is. Their life must be hell enough with the loss of their parents without starvation, disease and death. This planet has not advanced so far┐ no wonder the little green men don't visit planet Earth. They must think us cruel and barbaric.
P O'Donnell, Auckland, NZ
These children were born after Aids was already well publicized. Every person has two arms and two legs and a brain. They should have used them. Stop spending money on treatments and spend all the money on prevention. Could have saved a few million people.
Chris, Dallas, USA
The UN should do more in the fight against Aids especially in Africa in order to help combat infant mortality in Africa.
Promise Pina, Abuloma, Nigeria
It is very clear that adequate aid by the world has not been handed over to the nations in Africa. I have never seen any children infected by HIV but I can imagine what is happening over there. In fact the problem is not only HIV, also famine, inadequate natural resources, stability in politics, and the most important, perhaps insensitive attitude of the whole world. I do not think there is remarkable number of people who care about African poverty. All the talking about African kids reminds me of the Pulitzer Prize awarded photo taken by Kevin Carter in 1994. States must pay more attention to Africa.
Kuzey Kesimoglu, Istanbul
Africans have not done enough to fight HIV/Aids. If nothing is done immediately, orphans will increase thereby leading to an increase in social problems. African leaders are responsible.
Sylvester Okokon, Calabar, Nigeria
I think the priority should be the improvement of the basic sanitary conditions, allied to investments in education. Knowledge is the key for any successful result. We must go in the origins of this problem. The way things are happening will not conduct to any permanent solution.
Clodoaldo, Fortaleza, Brazil
Aids in Africa, yes it's a real tragedy and a great number of us have to live with the reality of it everyday and not while on a brief safari. It's interesting to note that the image of a helpless Africa and Africans who have brought these problems on themselves is still perpetuated meanwhile a number of governments such as Uganda, Botswana etc. have been working hard to tackle the issue.
It is unfortunate to note that not many realize or understand that "these people" especially the women do not have a whole lot of positive alternatives available when it comes to negotiating for safe sex, what with having to choose between; having unprotected sex and seeing your children go to bed hungry, having unprotected sex and getting an absolute thrashing for even thinking of using a condom.
It is important to clarify that a great number of orphans are not born out of wedlock. The audacity to focus on the faults of the "Third world" such as corruption is laughable. One hardly hears much about the more corrupt pharmaceutical companies that refuse to allow the production of cheaper generic drugs. Maybe what we need a cure for is selective amnesia/memory loss.
Wangari, Nairobi, Kenya
HIV/Aids treatments have long focused on the adults. Now is the time that the neglect of the children is stopped. These children, no matter how sick they are, should be given the chance to experience the life of being a child and perhaps, future advocates of cheaper HIV/Aids treatments. We have neglected them too long. Don't let another child be the next victim of HIV/Aids.
The children of Africa have the right to be just like any other child of the world. They need to get the necessary support and the proper education. Gradually they will change and HIV/Aids won't be as common. I am sure by investing more in education, the children will lead a much better lives.
The G8 summit was dubbed as "trick or treat". The poor will suffer with Aids. Let us face it. With Katrina, Rita, Wilma, bird flu, terrorism, and tourists stuck in the storms and then the wars too, Mr Blair seen as a follower of Mr Bush, CIA leaks and follow ups, thefts by big bosses in USA (I mention USA here as the big promise regarding Aids was made by the USA). What is the precedence? UN is corrupt. And so who will take up the responsibility of Aids or the poor?
Firozali A Mulla, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
We have to be worried about the Aids orphans because they are the leaders of tomorrow's Africa. Ignoring them will just perpetuate the vicious cycle of greater poverty and more Aids orphans. Give them basic tools such as education at the very least so that they can sustain themselves in the long run.
Namasiku, Nairobi, Kenya
Aids receives a disproportionate amount of the pitifully limited relief funding for Africa. Poverty, tuberculosis, hepatitis, malaria, and a host of easily curable diseases are ignored as a consequence.
It is certainly important that Aids patients receive treatment, but if it is a choice between enriching a massive pharmaceutical firm to provide one treatment to one patient, or to provide clean water to an entire village for a month, it is clear where the priority should lie. Aids is only the visible tip of the iceberg and the attention it receives skews the distribution of funding to those in need.
Mike, London, UK
I think we should all do our best to help children fight against HIV and Aids, no doubt about that. They're victims of irresponsible adults. Well, this is what happens when man chooses to reject God's ways! God is not against sex. He created it and is totally for it. But He is against sex before marriage.
Why are we preaching safe sex? We should be preaching that sex is the sacred union between a man and woman and therefore should be left until after marriage. No effort to solve all the world's problems will be effective until we decide to return God's ways which bring freedom and life.
Oswald, Glasgow, UK
To Oswald, Glasgow: The highest risk group for Aids in Uganda is married women - formerly abstinent, currently faithful - whose husbands cheat. A condom is all that stands between these women - and the children they breastfeed - and a terrible disease. It'd be great if the husbands didn't cheat, but it's a patriarchy and they think they have the right. But they don't all reject condoms, either during infidelity or with the wife, when they've been educated and they know it protects their family from whatever their mistresses have. It's all very well preaching about abstinence etc, but if we are to achieve the ideal - the elimination of Aids - we must first be practical.
ES, Los Angeles, USA
First and foremost, the critical step in the fight against HIV/Aids in Africa would consist of raising the public knowledge. A large majority of the African population relies on the advice of the elderly.
Levon, Erevan, Armenia
To sum it all up - it is irresponsibility on the part of African men and lack of empowerment on African women. Most African men who get some money in their pocket instead of investing or saving go for more women/wives. What do you expect?
HIV/Aids knocks at the door of all mankind; however, I think it should be a privilege if all people in our society are involved in the fight against HIV/Aids globally. HIV/Aids is a great threat to all human beings in the world, I think everybody, not only the government, should put her/his effort in prevention methods so that we can be we free of this dangerous disease.
Peter Tuach, Minnesota, USA
I am South African and personally know university educated men that were aware that a woman in their social circle had HIV yet they all slept with her and all without protection! It is not about education, it is about people refusing to admit that they are at risk. And it is definitely not a race issue.
It is about people believing that it won't happen to them. Aids campaigners can preach till they are blue in the face about safe sex but until people actually grow up and accept responsibility for their lives nothing will change.
Amanda, London, UK
Amanda in London is right on. What the UN does is run around trying to fix symptoms instead of correcting the underlying problem... ignorance.
Will Smith, Holmes Bch, FL, USA
Not much has been done to help the youngsters. This campaign is the right step in the right direction. It will help to remind the world that the youngsters are not benefiting in the fight against Aids. The youngsters are more of a forgotten segment and more needs to be done for them. In the fight against Aids, the focus has mostly been on the adult population while less attention is given to the youngsters who are the leaders of tomorrow.
Omorodion Osula, Boston, USA
It seems we're being asked for concern and mainly money for a new Third world tragedy every other week, I'm surprised anyone is alive at all in the Third world.
Very touching, but situations like this will always be present. What they need more than aid is a solution to the problem in the first place so that it is rarely repeated. I wonder how many donors really consider the problem before parting with conscience money. If we in the West really considered the problem perhaps our governments would supply what was needed not what was demanded (arms?) and most of all enable the countries to solve their own problems not impose our solutions on other cultures we don't really understand.
J Hirst, UK
Aids orphans are indeed overlooked, primarily by their parent(s) before they engage in unsafe sexual practices or indulge in communal drug usage. I find it difficult to believe that in 2005 the root causes of Aids are not common knowledge. Those that espouse education as the answer are wasting their time and other people's money. I'm not a cynic. I just believe in stating the truth and not ignoring the main cause: irresponsibility. Too many put instant gratification above common sense.
Robert, Kansas City, USA
I think it's disgraceful that it has taken this unimaginable amount of Aids related deaths and orphans to grab the attention of the sub-Saharan governments. How can any change be brought about in these countries with the amount of corruption within their governments?
I totally support the individuals that are trying their best to help, but I feel that their efforts will prove futile if the governments, who are meant to support and supposedly care for these citizens, do not change their obvious corruptness. Also what are the international superpowers doing to help this situation and how do they feel about this human devastation?
Andreia Carrazedo, Derby, England
Yes these poor children are dying as they are unwillingly brought into this world with this devastating disease. These adults need to be educated about safe sex. It's about time they took some of the responsibility. How many children have to die or starve to death before they realise sex can be dangerous? We can only do so much and give so much.
In Uganda last year I was taken to several Aids orphanages as part of a three-week tour of East Africa. I was unaware this would be part of the itinerary, expecting only to see wildlife and scenery, but I am glad the tour operator was brave enough to show us this very real side of Africa. Those children were so desperate, not only for material goods but for love and affection - I have never been so overwhelmed by the touch of a child's hand, or seen such expressions of longing.
If everybody who could afford to donated just a small amount of money, it would make such a big impact on these children's lives. Hopefully the Unite for Children campaign will reach a wider audience and highlight the severity of the plight of these children.
Thanks Abigail, UK for having something positive and insightful to say on this matter. Blaming the governments or the irresponsible parents might have its place but these are innocent children and refusing help because of someone else's sins sounds rather evil to me.
Rui Gouveia, London, UK