NEW YORK, 28 November 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 per cent reduction in new HIV infections in children – from 430,000 in 2009 to 330,000 in 2011.

And, as of December 2011, over 100,000 more children were receiving antiretroviral treatment compared to 2010.

But less than one-third of children and pregnant women are receiving the treatment they need, as opposed to the global average of 54 per cent for adults overall.

“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 still more to help mothers and children who live with HIV be able to live free from AIDS.  We must rededicate ourselves to boosting the number of pregnant women and children being tested and treated through basic antenatal and child health programmes.”

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.”

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UNICEF is the world’s leading organisation for children, working in over 190 countries to help every child realise their full potential. We work with partners to transform the lives of children everywhere. UNICEF provides health care, water, nutrition, education and protection for children. The most vulnerable and disadvantaged children are our priority. As champion of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, we work to protect and promote the rights of every child. UNICEF UK raises funds for UNICEF’s emergency and development work and advocates for lasting change for children everywhere. We are a UK registered charity, supported entirely by voluntary donations. We do not receive any money from the UN. For more information, please visit

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