A United Nations report revealed on Thursday that it achieved progress in treating children with AIDS and preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
The report examines progress and challenges in four key areas – preventing HIV transmission from mothers to children (PMTCT), providing pediatric treatment, preventing infection among adolescents and young people, and protecting and supporting children affected by AIDS.
There were some 2.1 million children under 15 living with HIV in 2007, most of whom were infected before birth, during delivery or while breastfeeding. And young people aged 15-24 still account for about 40 per cent of the new HIV infections among all people over 15 in 2007, according to the report.
Besides, an estimated 290,000 children under 15 died from AIDS last year, and 12.1 million children in sub-Saharan Africa lost one or both parents to the disease.
Among other findings, the report says that by the end of 2006, 21 countries, including Benin, Botswana, Brazil, Namibia, Rwanda, South Africa and Thailand, were on track to meeting the target of 80 per cent coverage for preventing HIV transmission from mothers to children (PMTCT) by 2010, up from only 11 countries in 2005.
Also, the number of HIV-positive children in low- and middle-income countries receiving antiretroviral treatment rose by 70 percent from 2005 to 2006.
While the proportion of HIV-positive pregnant women receiving antiretrovirals to reduce mother-to-child transmission increased by 60 percent during the same period, it is estimated that only 23 per cent of HIV-positive pregnant women are receiving antiretrovirals.
The report urges more resources for prevention, treatment and protection efforts, implementing new initiatives and scaling up those that have already been tested and proven effective.