A new report from UNICEF revealed that around 360,000 adolescents are likely to face death from AIDS-related diseases, between the years 2018 and 2030.
Keeping the current trends and lifestyle in consideration, the population group of 0 – 19 years old, for the year 2030 is believed to reach an estimated 270,000 HIV positive cases, decreasing by one third over current estimates.
From current statistics of 119,000 cases, year 2030 will get to see a massive decline in AIDS- related diseases, bringing the number down to 56,000.
According to the report, by 2030, the number of new HIV infections among children in the first decade of life will be cut in half, while new infections among adolescents aged 10 – 19 years old will only decrease by 29%.
Whereas, AIDS-related deaths are projected to decrease by 57% among children below the age of 14, compared with a 35% decrease among those aged between 15 – 19 years.
UNICEF Executive Director, Henrietta Fore, mentioned that the programs created to prevent HIV transmission from mothers to babies had been paying off but still needed improvement and a wider reach, while the treatment and prevention programs needed serious upgradation.
As per UNICEF’s estimation, nearly 700 adolescents aged between 10 and 19 are newly infected with HIV every day, or one every 2 minutes.
Moreover, according to the same report, an estimated number of 1.9 million children and adolescents will still be living with HIV in 2030, mostly in Eastern and Southern Africa (1.1 million), followed by West and Central Africa (571,000), Latin America and the Caribbean (84,000).
Currently, 3 million children and adolescents are living with HIV around the world, more than half of them belonging to Eastern and Southern Africa.
By 2030, South Asia will witness the greatest decline in the number of HIV related cases, followed by Southern Africa.
The report also disclosed two shortcomings in terms of the spreading epidemic.
Firstly, there is a lack of awareness and knowledge, due to which many sufferers are oblivious to the fact that they have HIV, and secondly, the lack of self-care and follow-up; as many become heedless towards the aspect of acquiring proper treatment.
In order to overcome these issues, the report recommends a number of approaches supported by UNICEF, including family-centered testing to help identify and treat children living with HIV, better diagnostic technologies to improve early infant diagnosis, greater use of digital platforms to improve HIV knowledge among adolescents and targeted community outreach.
Henrietta Fore further stated that, “We can’t win the fight against HIV if we don’t accelerate progress in preventing transmission to the next generation. We must maintain the sense of urgency to sustain gains made in the past decade – for both boys and girls. And to do this we must look to innovative and preventative ways of reaching the most vulnerable and at-risk young people.”