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HIV/AIDS infected children not getting adequate treatment:WHO/UNICEF

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, May 5 (UNI) The World Health Organisation and the UNICEF have expressed concern over very few number of HIV-infected children getting access to care and treatment and called for putting this group higher on the agenda for HIV/AIDS control programmes.

Briefing reporters on the sidelines of a two-day meeting on 'Peer Review of Regional Paediatric Antiretroviral Treatment Guidelines' at the WHO South East Asia Regional Office here, WHO and UNICEF officials said efforts are on to convince governments to put more resources for prevention of mother to child transmssion of HIV and provide treatment support to children already infected with the views.

Globally, 660,000 HIV-infected children below the age of 15 are in need of ART which represent more than 10 per cent of the total number of people in need. South East Asian Region has an estimated 120,000 children living with HIV/AIDS and of these, 33,000 are in need of anti-retroviral treatment, Dr Chewe Luo of UNICEF and Dr Siobhan Crowley of WHO, Geneva informed.

They said about 40,000 children acquire infections in the region every year and about 30 per cent die in the first year itself while 50 per cent die by their second birthday and another 60 per cent by the end of fifth year.

Of the 120,000 children living with HIV/AIDS in the region, majority are from India where 5.42 million are infected with HIV/AIDS.

Howover, only 28,000 people have access to Anti-Retro Viral treatment in the country, which is just 4.5 per cent, they said proportion should be about 15 per cent, they added.

Stating most of time such HIV infected children are neglected and denied treatment facilities under the impression that they would ultimately die, they said it was not correct as the lives of these HIV infected children could be saved by providing them timely ARV treatment.

They said the rate of HIV infection among children has reduced drastically in developed countries like the US and Europe due to various strategies and control programmes adopted to prevent mother to child transmssion.

However, in resource limiting settings like India, less than 10 per cent of pregnant HIV infected women receive preventive anti-retroviral therapy to prevent them from passing the infection to their babies resulting in 1800 infants becoming infected positive per day.

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