Although there was a 70% decline of the number of children who were diagnosed with HIV between 2000 and 2015, an unacceptably high number of children continue to become infected today.¹
In 2019, 150,000 children were newly diagnosed with HIV. Ending paediatric HIV remains an urgent global health priority. In 2015, UNAIDS and global partners outlined the Start Free, Stay Free, AIDS Free framework, with related targets, focused on eliminating new HIV infections. Start Free focuses on preventing children from acquiring HIV during pregnancy, birth and throughout the breastfeed period; Stay Free on preventing adolescent girls and young women from acquiring HIV as they grow up; and AIDS Free on providing HIV diagnosis, treatment, care and support to children and adolescents living with HIV.²
Realization of the Start Free, Stay Free and AIDS Free framework faces several barriers, including missed opportunities to test pregnant women for HIV and testing children at birth, longer HIV diagnoses for pregnant women, slower treatment initiation, lower retention in care for pregnant and breastfeeding women, viral load suppression challenges.³ Implementation science can help to address several of these barriers. We are committed to supporting implementation research focused on closing gaps that are preventing the end of paediatric AIDS.