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UNICEF Report Shows Progress In Preventing Newborn HIV But Increase In Adolescents With HIV

“Great progress has been made to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV, … with more than 850,000 infants being saved from the … infection between 2005 and 2012, said a U.N. report,” Xinhua reports. “However, the report raises the alarm on adolescents, citing the need for increased global and national efforts to address HIV/AIDS among this vulnerable age group,” the news service adds (11/29). UNICEF’s 2013 Stocktaking Report on Children and AIDS, released on Friday, “said AIDS-related deaths among those aged 10 to 19 increased between 2005 and 2012 from 71,000 to 110,000,” and “[a]bout 2.1 million adolescents were living with HIV last year,” according to the Associated Press/Straits Times (11/29). “Of those, it said, nearly 90 percent lived in just 22 countries. All but one of which are located in sub-Saharan Africa,” Deutsche Welle writes (11/29).

“One reason cited for the increase is that across sub-Saharan Africa, many young people who were infected at birth are now teenagers who need additional support to remain on treatment,” GlobalPost states (Conway-Smith, 12/1). “‘It’s a matter of reaching the most vulnerable adolescents with effective programs — urgently,’ said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake,” TIME writes (Liljas, 11/29). “The report, which comes ahead of Sunday’s World AIDS Day, shows that by increasing investment in high-impact interventions to about $5.5 billion by 2014, two million adolescents, particularly girls, could avoid becoming infected by 2020,” the U.N. News Centre reports, noting, “Investments in 2010 were $3.8 billion” (11/29). “High-impact interventions include condoms, antiretroviral treatment, prevention of mother-to-child transmission, voluntary medical male circumcision, communications for behavior change, and targeted approaches for at-risk and marginalized populations,” a UNICEF press release states (11/29). PANA/AfriqueJet notes the WHO on Tuesday launched “new guidelines on HIV to address needs of adolescents” (11/27).