Ravaged future

Published: Friday 15 February 2002

-- Today, around 36 million people are living with HIV/AIDS worldwide. Of these, 11.8 million are children and young people. Half of all new cases of HIV -- almost 6,000 daily -- occur in young people 15 to 24 years of age. What aggravates the problem is the widespread ignorance about the epidemic among the young men and women, many of whom do not know how to protect themselves from the spreading scourge. Worse still, in the last 15 years, the number of under 15 children with HIV/AIDS has increased ten times. In 2000, some 2.3 million children became AIDS orphans -- one in every 14 seconds. And it is obvious that the growing number of the children whose parents have died are less likely to access services and attend school than those who have not lost a parent. Thus the biggest casualty is their vulnerability.

Preventable deaths
In 2001, 90 per cent of 80,000 children under 15 acquired HIV through MTCT. Today, 2.5 million get HIV through MTCT
Children at risk of HIV infection through mother-to-child transfusion (MTCT), in 2001
Eastern Europe and Central Asia   5,000
East Asia & Pacific   68,000
Industrialised world   5,000
Latin America & Caribbean   52,000
Middle East & North Africa   40,000
South Asia   160,000
Sub-Saharan Africa   2,200,000
Source: AIDS epidemic update, December 2001, published by UNAIDS and WHO, 2001

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