United Nations: An estimated 1.1 million human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections among children under the age of 15 have been prevented between 2005 and 2013. According to data released by the UN Children`s Fund (UNICEF) Fridayahead of World AIDS Day, new HIV infections among children has declined by about 40 percent between 2009 and 2013, Xinhua reported. However, the global goal of reducing the figure by 90 percent is still out of reach, the data said.
The progress has been made through providing more pregnant women living with HIV with services for the prevention of mother to child transmission (PMTCT), such as lifelong HIV treatment which can reduce the transmission of virus to babies and keep their mothers alive. The sharpest declines took place in eight African countries, including Malawi, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, among others. However, only 67 percent of pregnant women living with HIV in all low- and middle-income countries received the most effective treatment for PMTCT in 2013.
An estimated 190,000 children under the age of 15 died of AIDS-related causes in 2013 due to lack of treatment. “If we can avert 1.1 million new HIV infections in children, we can protect every child from HIV but only if we reach every child,” UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake said. “We must close the gap, and invest more in reaching every mother, every newborn, every child and every adolescent with HIV prevention and treatment programmes that can save and improve their lives,” Lake added.