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More Information
Read more about how HIV/AIDS is affecting the world's children and young people.
See how informed young people are about HIV/AIDS in East Asia, Europe and Central Asia and Latin America and the Carribean.
A new landmark report contains important new data about why young people are key to defeating the global HIV/AIDS epidemic.
Access publications on HIV/AIDS.

"Two wrongs don't make a right. People living with HIV/AIDS should neither be discriminated against nor isolated. Rather, they should be treated like other normal human beings. Not only should they be given love and affection but they should be accorded the rights and respect they deserve."
- Benard, 18, Nigeria on Voices of Youth

© UNICEF/HQ01-0243/Dan Thomas  
Rebecca, 12, prepares to answer a question about HIV/AIDS in a Life Skills class at Domasi Demonstration Primary School in Zomba, Malawi.  

Facts: Each day, nearly 6,000 young people between the ages of 15 and 24 become infected with HIV. Yet only a fraction of them know they are infected.

The HIV/AIDS challenge is a top UNICEF priority and will remain at the centre of the organization's efforts to enforce child rights around the world. The epidemic, which poses serious developmental challenges to humankind, disproportionately affects the young.

The numbers have not lost their power to shock. About 2.7 million of the 40 million people now living with HIV/AIDS are under 15 years old. Around 800,000 infants were infected with HIV, mainly through mother-to-child transmission in 2001.

Yet, these figures only hint at the devastating impact of the epidemic. Children are also suffering from the indirect consequences: millions of children currently under 15 have lost their mother or both parents to AIDS over the last decade. Many of these children are struggling to survive on their own and will end up in institutions or on the streets with little protection and care. AIDS has also had a disastrous effect on children's education. An estimated 860,000 children lost their teachers to the disease in Africa in 1999.

The future lies in the hands of young people

Access to information is a right of all children. This is why UNICEF is working hard to break the silence that still prevails in many societies. UNICEF supports programmes that educate young people about the dangers of HIV/AIDS. In Malawi, for example, life skills classes have helped young people obtain the information and skills they need to protect themselves from infection.

UNICEF also believes that an effective way to reach adolescents is to help them play an active role in prevention campaigns. Since young people are likely to speak more freely and openly among themselves, UNICEF supports peer education programmes around the world.

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