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800,000 Children Infected With HIV Not Receiving Treatment – Report

The "Start Free, Stay Free, AIDS-Free" Report is a five-year framework that began in 2015,

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Justina Asishana
Justina Asishana
Justina Asishana is a Nigerian from Edo state. She is a data and investigative journalist who also fact-checks. She covers health, agriculture, education and governance

AFRICA: Over 800,000 Children living with HIV are currently not receiving treatment while 150,000 Children are newly infected with HIV, a new Report has stated.

The report states that 66,000 new HIV infections occurred among children because their mothers did not receive treatment at all during pregnancy or breastfeeding.

38,000 children became newly infected with HIV because their mothers were not continued in care during pregnancy and breastfeeding while 35,000 new infections among children occurred because a woman became newly infected with HIV during pregnancy or breastfeeding.

The report which is the final report from the Start Free, Stay Free, AIDS-Free initiative, UNAIDS and partners released during the International AIDS Society (IAS) 2021 Conference.

The report revealed stark inequalities in the access to HIV prevention and services for children as it stated that almost half of the world’s 1.7 children living with HIV were not on treatment in 2020.

The report further stated that the 150,000 children who were newly infected with HIV were four times more than the 2020 target of 40,000 stating that none of the targets of ending AIDS among children, adolescents and young women was met in 2020.

The report also showed that opportunities to identify infants and young children living with HIV early are being missed as more than one-third of children born to mothers living with HIV were not tested.

UNAIDS and Partners Speak About Report

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The Report

The “Start Free, Stay Free, AIDS-Free” report is a five-year framework that began in 2015, following on from the hugely successful Global Plan towards the elimination of new HIV infections among children by 2015 and keeping their mothers alive.

 It called for a super fast-track approach to ensure that every child has an HIV-free beginning, that they stay HIV-free through adolescence and that every child and adolescent living with HIV has access to antiretroviral therapy. 

The approach intensified focus on 23 countries, 21 of which were in Africa, that accounted for 83 per cent of the global number of pregnant women living with HIV, 80 per cent of children living with HIV and 78 per cent of young women aged 15 to 24 years newly infected with HIV.

Recommendations of the Report

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The report outlines three actions necessary to end new HIV infections among children in the focus countries. 

The actions include reaching pregnant women with testing and treatment as early as possible, ensuring the continuity of treatment and viral suppression during pregnancy, breastfeeding and for life and preventing new HIV infections among women who are pregnant and breastfeeding.

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