The global fight against Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) has achieved some great results but experts insist that more is yet to be done.
Here are a few facts with respect to the disease at the continental and global levels.
- Since 2000, Action in the area of Prevention of Mother-To-Child Transmission (PMTCT) in countries with high HIV/AIDS prevalence has brought the transmission rate down by roughly 70 per cent worldwide.
- Sub-Saharan Africa, has the greatest burden of HIV/AIDS infections and deaths.
- Over the last 15 years, PMTCT programmes have prevented some 1.6 million new HIV infections in children globally
- Provision of anti-retroviral treatment has saved 8.8 million lives (people of all ages).
- AIDS is still the number two cause of death for those aged 10-19 globally – and number one in Africa
- The numbers of AIDS-related deaths among adolescents 15-19 years have more than doubled since 2000.
- Globally in 2015, there were on average 29 new infections an hour among those in this age group.
- Girls are particularly vulnerable, making up about 65 per cent of new adolescent infections worldwide.
- In sub-Saharan Africa, which accounts for about 70% of people in the world living with HIV, 3 out of every 4 adolescents newly infected by HIV in 2015 were girls.
- Among adolescents, only 13 per cent of girls and 9 per cent of boys were tested within the last year.
- According to U-report, UNICEF’s mobile-based reporting tool, some 68% of 52,000 young people surveyed in 16 countries said they did not want to be tested
- Among the reasons they gave were, fear of an HIV-positive result, and because they were worried about social stigma.
Head of the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) Anthony Lake is reported to have said; “The undeniable progress we have made in the last three decades does not mean that our struggle is over, the battle against AIDS will not be over until we redouble prevention and treatment efforts; until we reach those young lives still being denied the progress that millions before them have enjoyed; and until we end the stigma and fear that prevent so many young people from getting tested.”