Two million HIV infected teens worldwide

Two million HIV infected teens worldwide / Health News

AIDS: Two million HIV infected teens worldwide


The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) has pointed out that there are currently an estimated two million teenagers worldwide infected with HIV. Much of the infected do not suspect their own infection, UNICEF continues. According to the children's aid experts, young people in developing and emerging countries are most affected, most of them in sub-Saharan African countries.

For teenagers in developing and emerging countries, the risk of HIV infection is particularly high, experts from the UN Children's Fund said. According to UNICEF, 2,500 adolescents between the ages of 15 and 24 are infected with HIV worldwide every day. Nearly every second infection is thus accounted for by this age group, according to the report „Opportunity in crisis“, UNICEF together with other UN agencies and the World Bank has published today. For the first time, the report contains comprehensive statistics on HIV infection among adolescents.

Every day 2,500 new HIV infections among adolescents
According to UNICEF, around two million adolescents between the ages of ten and 19 worldwide are living with HIV, much of them in developing and emerging countries. Particularly problematic is that many teenagers know nothing about their infection, said the experts of the UN Children's Fund. According to UNICEF, this is mainly due to the lack of access to confidential consulting and testing facilities. The UN Children's Fund therefore called for all adolescents to have access to education and assistance programs. Among the causes of HIV infection, UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake said that „for many young people an HIV infection is a result of neglect, exclusion and violence“ is. Too often, the families and communities of those affected would close their eyes to this fact, Lake emphasized. The report „Opportunity in crisis“ comes to the conclusion that 890,000 young people became HIV infected in 2009. According to UNICEF, every day between the ages of 15 and 24, 2,500 new HIV infections are added. Although today there are more education programs in almost all countries, almost every second infection accounts for this age group, reports the UN Children's Fund.

Young women are particularly infected with HIV
According to UNICEF data, girls and young women are at the highest risk of HIV infection to date. For example, the share of young women in HIV infections is around 60 percent worldwide, and even in the severely affected South African countries it is 71 percent, the experts at the UN Children's Fund said. Although many education and assistance programs have been launched, young women in developing and transition countries often have no access to information and little choice about their own sexuality, according to the results of the study „Opportunity in crisis“-Report. This also applies to the adolescents in Eastern Europe, where there is also an increase in HIV infection among adolescents. The HI virus is spread in the Eastern European countries, especially by contaminated syringes, report the experts of the UN Children's Fund. In this context, according to UNICEF „Perspectives and hopelessness as well as lack of support from their families and communities are the most common causes for adolescents to use or prostitute drugs.“

Millennium target at risk - HIV spread can not be stopped
According to the UN Children's Fund, the Millennium Development Goal is to halt the spread of HIV infection by 2015, „still far away in many countries“. For currently, hundreds of thousands of adolescents are still getting infected with the HIV virus every year. Therefore formulated the „Opportunity in crisis“-Report nine recommendations on AIDS prevention to reduce the number of HIV infections among adolescents. For example, UNICEF pleads for an expansion of the „Aids education for adolescents in schools, health centers and religious institutions“, where too „new technologies“ could help. For example, in Uganda, teenagers from the largest telephone company would have received free minutes for it if they were in the program „Text to change“ responded to questions about HIV / AIDS on their mobile phone via SMS. Above all, it is crucial that „disadvantaged children and young people should be better protected from the consequences of extreme poverty, exploitation and neglect“, declared UNICEF. „Very early sexual contacts, teenage pregnancies and drug abuse“ According to the UN Children's Fund, these are usually signs of a difficult social environment for young people. In addition, UNICEF also advocated that young people increasingly actively participate in AIDS prevention. (Fp)

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Picture: Gerd Altmann