Africa: Children left behind in the treatment of HIV

AusAID/Flickr A blood spot test (for HIV) on an infant

The world marks World Aids Day on December 1, in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic. Unicef’s latest survey report shows that every minute and 40 seconds that passed last year, a child or young person under the age of 20 was infected with HIV.

Nearly 320,000 children and adolescents were infected with HIV and 110,000 children died of Aids-related illnesses last year, most of them in Africa.

Even though the number of Aids-related deaths among children aged 0-19 has fallen by 53 percent since 2000, deaths in young children under five still accounted for the majority, at 60 per cent in 2019.

The report states that paediatric prevention and treatment through antiretroviral therapy still lags behind in both treatment coverage for prevention of mother-to-child transmission, at 85 per cent.

It adds that the conditions of adults living with HIV (62 per cent) in 2019 was made worse by Covid-19 disruptions. Last year, only 53 per cent of children living with HIV had access to life-saving treatment. Read more…

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