New HIV infections among children reduced by half in 7 countries – UN report

The countries where a 50 per cent reduction in News HIV infections has been achieved are Botswana, Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, and Zambia.

The UN agency handling the global AIDS response, has said that new HIV infections among children have been reduced by 50 per cent in seven countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

This is contained in the agency’s latest progress report on the Global Plan towards the elimination of new HIV infections among children by 2015 released in New York on Tuesday.

The report listed the countries as Botswana, Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, and Zambia.

According to the report, these countries have reduced the new HIV infections among children by half since 2009, while Tanzania and Zimbabwe are also making substantial progress.

“The Plan has two main targets for 2015: a 90 per cent reduction in the number of children newly infected with HIV and a 50 per cent reduction in the number of AIDS-related maternal deaths.

“It focuses on the 22 countries which account for 90 per cent of new HIV infections among children.

“It also indicates the progress made by the 21 countries in sub-Saharan Africa and some of the challenges they face in meeting the agreed targets for 2015.

“Data from India was not available at the time the report was written,’’ it noted.

The report showed that there were 130,000 fewer new HIV infections among children across the 21 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, showing a drop of 38 per cent since 2009.

“The progress in the majority of countries is a strong signal that with focused efforts, every child can be born free from HIV.

“But progress has stalled in some countries with high numbers of new HIV infections, we need to find out why and remove the bottlenecks which are preventing scale-up,” he added.

The agency said that Ghana showed the greatest decline in the rate of new infections among children since 2009 (76 per cent), followed by South Africa (63 per cent).

However, the pace of decline in some of the Global Plan priority countries had been slow and in Angola, new HIV infections have even increased, the report said.

According to the report, new infections among children in Nigeria, which has the largest number of children acquiring HIV, remained largely unchanged since 2009.

“Without urgent action in Nigeria, the global target for 2015 may not be reached,’’ the report warned.

The report also noted that more pregnant women living with HIV were receiving antiretroviral medicines.

This, the report said, was to prevent HIV from being transmitted to their children and for their own health in 2012 than in 2009, with coverage levels exceeding 75 per cent in many countries.

(NAN)


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