UN: UNICEF warns on sharp rise in new HIV infections among adolescents

New York, US (PANA) - New HIV infections among adolescents are projected to rise from 250,000 in 2015 to nearly 400,000 a year by 2030 if progress stalls in reaching adolescents, a report released by the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) warned on Thursday.

The UNICEF report was released in observance of the World AIDS Day, which is marked on 1 December annually.

In a statement on the report, UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake said: "The world has made tremendous progress in the global effort to end AIDS, but the fight is far from over – especially for children and adolescents.

"Every two minutes, another adolescent – most likely a girl – will be infected with HIV. If we want to end AIDS, we need to recapture the urgency this issue deserves and redouble our efforts to reach every child and every adolescent."

He noted that AIDS remained a leading cause of death among adolescents, claiming lives of 41,000 adolescents aged 10-19 in 2015. Globally there were nearly two million adolescents aged 10 -19 living with HIV in 2015.

"In sub-Saharan Africa, the region most impacted by HIV, girls accounted for three out of every four new infections among adolescents aged 15-19," Lake said.

The UNICEF report proposed strategies for accelerating progress in preventing HIV among adolescents and treating those who are already infected.

These include investing in innovation in locally grown solutions, strengthening data collection, ending gender-based discrimination and violence and countering stigma and prioritising efforts to address adolescents’ vulnerabilities by providing a combination of prevention efforts.

It, however, noted that funding for the AIDS response has declined since 2014.

Meanwhile, in his message for World AIDS Day, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that the international community can look back "with some pride" at the 35 years since the emergence of AIDS, but must also look ahead with resolve and commitment to reach its goal of ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030.

"There has been real progress on many fronts, including a reduction by half in the number of children infected through mother-to-child transmission since 2010, fewer AIDS-related deaths each year, longer lives for people with HIV and greater access to life-saving medicines," Ban said.

The UN chief, however, said that gains remain fragile, with young women vulnerable in countries with high HIV prevalence, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa, and new infections on the rise among people who inject drugs as well as gay men and other men who have sex with men.

He also highlighted how the work against HIV is linked to progress in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted in 2015, particularly in education, peace, gender equality and human rights.

"As I prepare to complete my tenure as UN Secretary-General, I issue a strong call to all: let us recommit, together, to realizing our vision of a world free of AIDS," said Ban, who is stepping down on 31 December.

Another highlight of the World AIDS Day was the launch of the hands up for #HIVprevention campaign that will explore different aspects of HIV prevention and how they relate to specific groups of people, such as adolescent girls and young women, key populations and people living with HIV.
-0-  PANA  AA/AR  1Dec2016

01 décembre 2016 17:10:57

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