New HIV infections among children reduced by 50% in sub-Saharan Africa

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World AIDS Day event in Liberia

New HIV infections among children have been reduced by 50% or more in seven countries in sub-Saharan Africa, according to a new report out Tuesday.

But it also shows that access to treatment remains unacceptably low for children––only 3 in 10 children in need of treatment have access in most of the 'Global Plan' priority countries

The report – the Global Plan towards elimination of new HIV infections among children by 2015 and keeping their mothers alive, revealed a marked increase in progress in stopping new infections in children across the Global Plan priority countries in Africa.

It says that seven countries in sub-Saharan Africa—Botswana, Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa and Zambia—have reduced new HIV infections among children by 50% since 2009. Two others—Tanzania and Zimbabwe—are also making substantial progress.

The report highlights that there were 130 000 fewer new HIV infections among children across the 21 Global Plan priority countries in Africa––a drop of 38% since 2009.

With a 76% decline since 2009, Ghana showed the greatest decline in the rate of new infections among children and South Africa showed a 63% decline (24 000 fewer new HIV infections in 2012 than in 2009)

But the pace of decline in some of the Global Plan priority countries has been slow and in Angola, new HIV infections have even increased. New infections among children in Nigeria––which has the largest number of children acquiring HIV (nearly 60 000 new HIV infections among children in 2012)––remained largely unchanged since 2009.

Executive Director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), Michel Sidibé, said "The progress in the majority of countries is a strong signal that with focused efforts every child can be born free from HIV", adding "But progress has stalled in some countries with high numbers of new HIV infections". He said "We need to find out why and remove the bottlenecks which are preventing scale-up".

Donn Bobb, United Nations.

Duration: 1’59″

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