On World AIDS Day, UNICEF’s new report on Children and AIDS reveals the stark truth that we are letting young people down around the world. AIDS-related deaths among adolescents are on the rise, increasing by a staggering 50 percent between 2005 and 2012.
Every single death from AIDS is a tragedy and adolescents are too often overlooked in the response to HIV. Discrimination, poverty, inequalities and harsh laws can make it tough for them to seek and receive testing, health care and support.
This is in deep contrast to the good news that new infections in children are falling, with huge progress made in reducing mother-to-child transmissions of HIV.
Indeed, between 2005 and 2012, over 850,000 children whose mothers were living with HIV avoided being born with the virus.
While positive strides have certainly been made in the fight against AIDS, we cannot afford to think the battle is yet won. However, if we continue to commit to scaled up resources, political will and support for young people and mothers, one day they could ensure an AIDS-free generation becomes a reality.
Executive director, UNICEF UK