Out now: Aidsfonds World AIDS Day 2019 Report

Out now: Aidsfonds World AIDS Day 2019 Report

Almost half of the children living with HIV are not on treatment. Every 5 minutes, a child (aged 0-14) somewhere in the world dies due to AIDS-related illness. Even though the number of AIDS-related deaths among children and adolescents (aged 0-19) is gradually declining year on year, it is still double that of 2000. 46% of the children living with HIV are not being treated with life-saving drugs – in some countries as many as 75%. Without treatment, half of the children living with HIV will die before they reach the age of two. There are considerable shortfalls in paediatric HIV testing and treatment when compared to adults. This can and must change.

“The next generation should grow up HIV-free – but this global target will not be achieved because political leaders are letting them down. In the AIDS response, treatment for a new generation is lagging behind. The youngest ones, the babies and children, are being neglected and forgotten. It is this that endangers all the progress made so far. Children deserve to be given top priority now.”


Mark Vermeulen, Executive Director, Aidsfonds

Forgotten children

This year, Aidsfonds conducted research in six African countries (Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Uganda, Zimbabwe and South Africa). The findings show a lack of adequate medical care for babies and children, so they are not being tested for HIV or this is happening too late.

The HIV medication available is not specially formulated for children. 40% of the children living with HIV in the countries studied are given medication meant for adults. It is difficult for a child to persevere with the treatment: the dose is too high, the pills too big and they don’t like the taste.

UN commitment

It was agreed at the United Nations that children with HIV would be made a priority. In 2020, there would be fewer than 20,000 new HIV infections among children. But according to the latest figures we are nowhere near that, with 160,000 new infections in 2018. 

Aidsfonds is investing in the youngest generation in Africa

Early infant diagnosis using suitable HIV testing devices is, therefore, crucial – the difference between life and death. A lot can be achieved in a short time with equipment that can do rapid HIV testing and give a result the same day. That is why Aidsfonds trains community health workers in six African countries. They, in turn, make sure that children in even the smallest villages are tested for HIV and given the medication they need for a healthy future. UNAIDS and the World Health Organization call this approach, with its focus on children, very promising.

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