NEW YORK (November 28, 2012) — New HIV infections in children are down, but reaching the goal of an AIDS-free generation requires treating more pregnant women and children living with HIV, UNICEF said today.
Thanks to remarkable global commitment, the world has seen a 24% reduction in new HIV infections in children—from 430,000 in 2009 to 330,000 in 2011. In addition, approximately 100,000 more children received antiretroviral treatment in 2011 than the previous year.
Despite this progress, less than 1/3 of children and pregnant women are receiving the treatment they need, as opposed to 54% for adults globally.
“It is simply wrong that adults are twice as likely as children to receive the treatment they need,” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake. “By definition, an AIDS-free generation depends on protecting the youngest and most vulnerable from HIV infection. We must do more to help mothers and children who live with HIV be able to live free from AIDS. We must re-dedicate ourselves to boosting the number of pregnant women and children being tested and treated through basic antenatal and child health programs.”
Treating HIV-positive pregnant women not only keeps them alive and well, but prevents babies from acquiring HIV during pregnancy, delivery and the breastfeeding period. Treatment can also prevent sexual transmission from an HIV-positive woman to an HIV-negative partner.
Working to end new HIV infections among children by 2015 and keeping their mothers alive is a key element of UNICEF’s overall commitment to child survival under the global movement, “A Promise Renewed.”
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) works in 190 countries and territories to save and improve children’s lives, providing health care and immunizations, clean water and sanitation, nutrition, education, emergency relief and more. The U.S. Fund for UNICEF supports UNICEF's work through fundraising, advocacy, and education in the United States. Together, we are working toward the day when zero children die from preventable causes and every child has a safe and healthy childhood. For more information, visit www.unicefusa.org.