The UN programme leading the global fight against HIV and AIDS, UNAIDS has revealed that nearly half of the 1.7 million children worldwide living with HIV were not on treatment in 2020.
The report, released by UNAIDS together with partners stated that children are nearly 40 times less likely to be on life-saving treatment than adults.
Ren Minghui, Assistant Director-General of the Universal Health Coverage/Communicable and Noncommunicable Diseases Division at WHO said, “The HIV community has a long history of tackling unprecedented challenges, today we need that same energy and perseverance to address the needs of the most vulnerable—our children.”
“African leaders have the power to help us change the pace of care and should act and lead until no child living with HIV is left behind.” He added.
The report further details that part of the action needed is reaching pregnant women with testing and treatment as early as possible.
This is because some 66,000 new HIV infections occurred in children because their mothers did not receive treatment during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
Mothers also should be able to continue treatment and viral suppression for life, while more efforts are needed to prevent new infections among women who are pregnant and breastfeeding.