Over 300 children and adolescents die every day from AIDS-related causes

Only half of children living with HIV have access to life-saving treatment – UNICEF

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26 November 2019 – Some 320 children and adolescents died every day from AIDS-related causes in 2018, or 13 every hour, according to a global snapshot on children, HIV and AIDS released by UNICEF today.

Low access to antiretroviral treatment, in addition to limited prevention efforts, is a leading cause for these deaths, with only 54 per cent of children aged 0-14 living with HIV in 2018 – or 790,000 children – receiving lifesaving antiretroviral therapy.

“The world is on the cusp of making great gains in the battle against HIV and AIDS, but we must not rest on the laurels of progress made,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore. “Neglecting testing and treatment initiatives for children and adolescents is a matter of life and death, and for them, we must choose life.”

  • In 2018, around 160,000 children aged 0-9 were newly infected with HIV, bringing the total number of children in this age group living with HIV to 1.1 million.
  • 89,000 children under the age of five were infected during pregnancy or birth and 76,000 were infected during breastfeeding in 2018

“The cost of failing to test and treat every child at risk of HIV is one we measure in children’s lives and futures – a cost that no society can afford. HIV initiatives need to be fully funded and equipped to preserve, protect and improve the quality of life for children, in the first and second decades,” said Fore.

ENDS

Notes to editors:

Multimedia content available to download here.

For more information, please contact:

Unicef UK Media Team, 0207 375 6030, media@unicef.org.uk

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Unicef is the world’s leading organisation for children, promoting the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

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