25 - 30% of children infected with HIV die before their 1st birthday and 50 - 60% of children die before their 2nd birthday due to lack of child antiretroviral medication. Children are more vulnerable to the HIV virus, as they suffer more from simple childhood illnesses like mumps or chicken pox or other illnesses like tuberculosis, leading to a much higher mortality rate. HIV attacks the cells in the immune system, destroying our body’s natural defence against illness. Antiretroviral therapy can save lives as it stops the HIV virus from attacking the cells of the immune system. An early diagnosis means the patient can start the antiretroviral treatments early which allows the immune system to maintain its strength to fight off infections and diseases. However, many children die due to a lack of proper HIV medication formulated for children, so the American Foundation for Children with AIDS sources the medication and delivers it free of charge to various clinics and hospitals in the most underserved and marginalised communities in Uganda, Kenya, Democratic Republic of Congo and Zimbabwe to support their HIV positive children and their caregivers.
Many HIV medications available in low-income countries are formulated for adults, so mothers are forced to crush adult medication just to give their child a chance at life. How much crushed medication the child receives depends on their weight, and too little adult medication leads to drug resistance and too much leads to death. This is the reality for hundreds of thousands of children and mothers worldwide, as only 50% of HIV positive children worldwide have access to antiretroviral medication. Early antiretroviral therapy in children preserves their immune system, promotes normal growth and development and provides a long healthy life. The distribution of child-formulated HIV medication saves the lives of hundreds of thousands of innocent children.
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The American Foundation for Children with AIDS (AFCA) is a non-profit organization providing critical comprehensive services to infected and affected HIV+ children and their caregivers. Our programs are efficient, promoting self-reliance and sustainability. Since 2005, in collaboration with our in-country partners, we have served tens of thousands of families in some of the most underserved and marginalized communities in Africa. Our areas of impact include: medical support, livelihoods, educational support and emergency relief.