Opinion

About 160,000 children acquired HIV in 2021 – WHO

The World Health Organisation says in 2021, 160,000 children were infected with Human Immunodeficiency Virus.

According to WHO, globally, every five minutes, a child dies from AIDS-related causes.

A press statement by the global health body explained that plans have been laid by 12 African countries by committing themselves to end AIDS in children by 2030.

The statement stated, “Currently, around the world, a child dies from AIDS-related causes every five minutes.”

It explained that only half (52 per cent) of children living with HIV are on life-saving treatment, far behind adults of whom three quarters (76 per cent) are receiving antiretrovirals.

The statement lamented that children accounted for 15 per cent of all AIDS-related deaths, despite the fact that only four per cent of the total number of people living with HIV are children.

It said that Nigeria, Angola, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Mozambique, South Africa, the United Republic of Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, are the 12 countries with high HIV burdens and have joined the alliance to ensure that the 2030 target is met.

According to Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, the Director-General of the WHO, assured that the organisation is committed to leaving no stone unturned towards ensuring that children in need of HIV treatment are not left behind towards curbing the disease among children.

Dr Ghebreyesus said that more than 40 years since AIDS first emerged, WHO has come a long way in preventing infections among children and increasing access to treatment, saying that progress has stalled.

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