In 2004, frustrated at the lack of attention paid to children at the International AIDS Conference, a group of global health leaders came together to drive increased focus on this extremely vulnerable population.

After a career spent working to promote the health and development of children, Peter Laugharn — who was then with the Bernard van Leer Foundation and is now CEO of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation — in collaboration with Kate Harrison (then with the International HIV/AIDS Alliance), Jen Astone (then with the Firelight Foundation), Linda Richter (then with the Human Sciences Research Council in South Africa), and Lorraine Sherr (University College London), created the Coalition for Children Affected by AIDS (the Coalition) believing that children deserve more prominent positioning at the international conference.

In 2005, Coalition members were recruited from funders, technical organizations and academia. A collaborative was launched, and the key elements were in place to begin our work.

With the goal of raising the profile of children affected by HIV and AIDS among the researchers, policy makers and funders who set the global agenda, one of the first undertakings of the Coalition was partnering with The Teresa Group to host a gathering in the days leading up to the International AIDS Conference. The resulting biennial Children and HIV symposium has since become the premier event for professionals working on behalf of children affected by AIDS.