The World Council of Churches (WCC) was represented at the gathering, which drew Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Baháʼí, and Buddhist communities, along with civic leaders.
Data presented in the breakfast shows that child AIDS deaths have decreased by 80% and new AIDS orphanhood has decreased by 75%. However, that progress is now under threat and needs remain urgent as 84,000 children still die each year of AIDS globally and 92% of those deaths are preventable. There are 10.3 million AIDS-orphaned children in Sub-Saharan Africa who need economic and social support.
"Accessibility to paediatric medicines is a big challenge for many children living with HIV in India,” said Fr Thomas Ninan, executive secretary of the Projects of the NCCI, Christian Service Agency, Nagpur, India. “Life skills education can do wonders for many positive children in India for a safe and secure future for them."
The WCC, through its Ecumenical HIV and AIDS Initiatives and Advocacy Programme and through the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance, has mobilized faith communities to address the gaps in HIV among children. Vulnerable and affected children, as well as the ones born with HIV, experience serious challenges related to HIV stigma and discrimination and lack of political will. WCC promotes the responsibility of faith communities in taking care of the vulnerable and bringing justice.
WCC-promoted activities are one of the promising strategies identified in a compendium of African faith-based initiatives to respond to pediatric HIV.
"The new compendium of promising practices will help to reduce transmission of HIV, increase treatment access and adherence support among children and youth to end transmission, and reduce the inequalities that worsen outcomes for HIV-exposed infants and children living with HIV,” said Bishop Godson Lawson from Togo, a member of the WCC Commission on Health and Healing. "The faith-based organizations are committed to ensuring that all voices are represented in the fight to end AIDS in children and youth.”