More Teenagers Acquiring HIV –Report

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In short
The report codenamed Get on the Fast-Track: the life-cycle approach to HIV indicates that girls transition to womanhood is a very dangerous time, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, where around 7,500 young women became newly infected with HIV every week during the last one year.

The threat of HIV among young girls aged between 15 and 24 years is alarming, a new report published today by UNAIDS shows.

The report codenamed "Get on the Fast-Track: the life-cycle approach to HIV" indicates that girls' transition to womanhood is a very dangerous time, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, where around 7,500 young women became newly infected with HIV every week during the last one year.

Data from studies in six locations within eastern and southern Africa indicates that girls aged between 15 and 19 years accounted for 90 percent of all new HIV infections among 10 - 19-year-olds, and more than 74 percent in eastern Africa.

Globally, between 2010 and 2015, the number of new HIV infections among young women was reduced by just 6 percent, from 420, 000 to 390,000. To reach the target of less than 100,000 new HIV infections among adolescent girls and young women by 2020 will require a 74 reduction in the four years between 2016 and 2020.

"They are at high risk of HIV infection, have low rates of HIV testing, and have poor adherence to treatment. The world is failing young women and we urgently need to do more," UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé says. 

The challenge is heightened by the survival into adulthood of many young girls who were born with HIV. The report shows that studies from 25 countries in 2015 show that 40 percent of young people aged between 15 and 19 years became infected through mother-to-child transmission of HIV.

According to the report, this transition is magnifying another major challenge - high numbers of AIDS-related deaths among adolescents.

However, countries are getting on the Fast-Track, with an additional one million people accessing treatment in just six months between January and June 2016, the same report indicates.

This brings to 18.2, the number of people on life-saving medicines. The global target is to have 30 million people on antiretrovirals by 2020, implying that at least 12 million more people will need to be enrolled for therapy over the next four years.

"Just under two years ago, 15 million people were accessing antiretroviral treatment - today more than 18 million are on treatment and new HIV infections among children continue to fall. Now, we must ensure that the world stays on the Fast-Track to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030, UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibe said.

The report, launched ahead of World Aids Day shows that, globally, access to HIV medicines to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV increased to 77 percent up from 50 percent in 2010. As a result, new HIV infections among children have declined by 51 percent since 2010. Another 910, 000 children are receiving treatment, double the number recorded five years ago.

 "The progress we have made is remarkable, particularly around treatment, but it is also incredibly fragile," Sidibé said, adding that new threats to the fight against HIV are emerging with increased drug resistance and a triple threat of infections among young women. 
 

 

About the author

Sylvia Nankya
Sylvia is an Editor and Media Trainer with Uganda Radio Network. She has been a URN staff member since 2013. Sylvia has previously worked as a reporter and news anchor with Radio One (2001-2009) and with Vision Group (2009-2011). Six of her active years in Journalism were spent covering the Parliament of Uganda.

Over the past few years, Sylvia has worked to promote the positive development of societies recovering from conflict through training journalists on choices of stories, how they report issues and use of appropriate language in covering conflict and post-conflict situations.

She is an Alumni of RNTC- Holland, Les Aspin Centre for Government at Marquette University-WI, USA and a Community Solutions Fellow.