AIDS-related illnesses killed 2.1 lakh children in 2012: Report

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AIDS
New Delhi, Nov 30: At least 2,10,000 children died from AIDS-related illnesses in 2012, according to a report by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).

The 2013 Stocktaking Report on Children and AIDS states that only 34 percent of the children living with HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) in low and middle income countries received treatment in 2012, compared to 64 percent of adults.

"This report reminds us that an AIDS-free generation is one in which all children are born free of HIV and remain so. This means access to treatment for all children living with HIV," Michel Sidibe, executive director, UNAIDS said.

"It also reminds us that women's health and well being should be at the centre of the AIDS response," he added.

According to the report, the Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS)-related deaths among adolescents between the age group of 10 and 19 increased by 50 percent between 2005 and 2012 globally, rising from 71,000 to 1.1 lakh.

It highlights the need for increased global and national efforts to address HIV and AIDS among adolescents.

As per the report, the estimated HIV prevalence among adults, aged between 15 and 49 in 2012 was 0.3 percent with 49,000 pregnant women living with it in India.

"If high impact interventions are scaled up using an integrated approach, we can halve the number of new infections among adolescents by 2020," Anthony Lake, executive director, UNICEF said.

"It's a matter of reaching the most vulnerable adolescents with effective programmes," he added.

The high impact interventions mentioned in the report include condoms, anti-retroviral treatment, prevention from mother-to-child transmission, voluntary medical male circumcision, communications for behaviour change and targeted approaches for at-risk and marginalised populations.

These are in addition to investments in other sectors such as education, social protection and welfare and strengthening health systems.

However, the report also states in contrast to adolescents, more than 8.5 lakh new childhood infections were averted between 2005 and 2012, showing progress in preventing mother-to-child transmission of the virus.

"Some 2.6 lakh children were newly infected with HIV in 2012, compared to 5.4 lakh in 2005," the report says.

IANS

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