UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador David Beckham Says Fatherhood Made Him More Emphatic With HIV/AIDS Infected Children In Swaziland

Fatherhood made it difficult for David Beckham to visit children infected with HIV/AIDS in Swaziland, a southern African country. Swaziland's people are affected by the region's worst drought crisis in decades.

Beckham, a UNICEF goodwill ambassador, said the African children he interacted with were the same age as his own kids. The former professional footballer and wife Victoria Beckham have four children: sons Brooklyn, 17; Romeo, 13; Cruz, 11; and daughter Harper, who is four years old.

7 Fund

According to Beckham, children in Swaziland had one or both of their parents die from HIV/AIDS. Some of the kids also carry the deadly disease, the Belfast Telegraph reported.

To help these impoverished children, Beckham founded a special project called 7: The David Beckham UNICEF Fund last year. The 7 Fund, which marks Beckham's 10th year as one of UNICEF's goodwill ambassadors, aims to help children in dire need of resources.

Beckham, 41, said he launched 7 Fund because he wishes to "build a safer world for children" especially those affected by HIV/AIDS, the Belfast Telegraph noted. Through an Instagram post, he urged the international community to help him provide food, medicine and clean water to those desperate kids.

Leila Gharagozloo-Pakkala, UNICEF's regional director for eastern and southern Africa, said the drought that has swept the region during the past two years has negatively impacted harvests and water resources. HIV-affected communities are susceptible to the scarce food supply, malnutrition and low income, with 26 million children likely to die from hunger, a blog post from UNICEF read.

Progress Made

According to this week's press release from UNAIDS, there has been a 60 percent decline in new HIV infections among children living in the 21 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. The rate of new HIV infections among children has plummeted from 270,000 in 2009 to 110,000 in 2015. This milestone is done thanks to the Global Plan launched in 2011 by UNAIDS and the United States President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR.

The seven countries with the most notable HIV infection decline are Uganda (86 percent), South Africa and Burundi (84 percent), Swaziland (80 percent), Namibia (79 percent), Mozambique (75 percent) and Malawi (71 percent). The countries of Armenia, Belarus, Cuba and Thailand also received official certificates of validation from the World Health Organization to end HIV infections among children.

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