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Ugandan girl addresses US senators on AIDS

By Vision Reporter

Added 14th September 2005 03:00 AM

TWELVE-YEAR-old Ugandan anti-AIDS activist Josephine Nabukenya captivated the US Congress in Washington DC with her heart-rending testimony on her positive HIV sero-status and put a human face on the issue of children’s access to AIDS treatment worldwide.

TWELVE-YEAR-old Ugandan anti-AIDS activist Josephine Nabukenya captivated the US Congress in Washington DC with her heart-rending testimony on her positive HIV sero-status and put a human face on the issue of children’s access to AIDS treatment worldwide.

By Alfred Wasike
TWELVE-YEAR-old Ugandan anti-AIDS activist Josephine Nabukenya captivated the US Congress in Washington DC with her heart-rending testimony on her positive HIV sero-status and put a human face on the issue of children’s access to AIDS treatment worldwide.

A standing-room only crowd gathered on Capitol Hill to attend the Elizabeth Glaser Paediatric AIDS Foundation’s (EGPAF) event.

The event titled, “What About Us?” Children’s Battle to Access AIDS Treatment, reminded US lawmakers and the world that children cannot be left behind as adults enroll rapidly into HIV/AIDS treatment programmes in the world’s poorest countries, a spokesperson for EGPAF, Ashley Wolfington said.

“The first panel was the most poignant, as Jake Glaser, Elizabeth Glaser’s son and Nabukenya, shared their personal experiences growing up HIV-positive,” Wolfington said.

“Josephine captivated the audience by delivering a heart-warming testimony and reading a beautiful poem she wrote soon after learning her HIV-positive status. Jake called on political leaders and the entire HIV/AIDS community to put differences aside to fight tirelessly as his mother did for HIV-positive children around the world,” Wolfington said.
Jake and Nabukenya answered questions from the audience and urged US lawmakers to make treatments available for the children who so desperately need them.

Panelists highlighted the fact that less than one percent of the 2.2 million HIV-infected children receive AIDS drugs — but they also offered hope and outlined strategies to improve children’s access to treatment.

The EGPAF released a report that echoed the pleas of the panelists on the need to improve and expand paediatric care and treatment.

In the report, EGPAF calls on lawmakers to enact a strategy based on five key principles: transmission prevention, training, testing, treatment and targets to level the playing field for HIV-infected children and improve their chances for a healthy future living with HIV/AIDS.
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Ugandan girl addresses US senators on AIDS

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