Ghana shows leadership in preventing the spread of HIV
ACCRA, 29 November 2013 – A new report released today by UNICEF shows that Ghana has made great progress in preventing the spread of HIV, with new infections in children declining by 76 per cent between 2009 and 2012.
However, the new 2013 Stocktaking Report on Children and AIDS raises the alarm on adolescents, citing the need for increased global efforts to address HIV and AIDS among this vulnerable age group.
AIDS-related deaths amongst adolescents between the ages of 10 and 19 globally increased by 50 per cent between 2005 and 2012, rising from 71,000 to 110,000, in stark contrast to progress made in preventing mother-to-child transmission. There were approximately 2.1 million adolescents living with HIV in 2012 globally.
The report states that Ghana has made great progress in preventing mother to child transmission, with more eligible women now receiving antiretroviral treatment. There is also a positive decline in the number of women becoming newly infected between 2009 and 2012.
“This report shows clearly the success of Ghana, led by the Government, to protect its children against HIV,” UNICEF Deputy Representative Rushnan Murtaza said.
“The report shows that Ghana has been a leader among the 22 priority countries chosen under the Global Plan joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS.”
A new analysis featured in the global Stocktaking Report shows that by increasing investment in high-impact interventions to about US$5.5 billion globally by 2014, 2 million adolescents, particularly girls, could avoid becoming infected by 2020. Investments in 2010 were US$3.8 billion.
“This report reminds us that an AIDS-free generation is one in which all children are born free of HIV and remain so––from birth and throughout their lives––and it means access to treatment for all children living with HIV,” said Michel Sidibe, Executive Director of UNAIDS. “It also reminds us that women’s health and well-being should be at the centre of the AIDS response. I have no doubt that we will achieve these goals.”
Thanks to new, simplified life-long antiretroviral treatment (known as Option B+), there is a greater opportunity to effectively treat women living with HIV and to prevent the transmission of the virus to their babies during pregnancy, delivery, and through breastfeeding. This treatment involves a daily one-pill regimen.
“If high-impact interventions are scaled up using an integrated approach, we can halve the number of new infections among adolescents by 2020,” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake. “It’s a matter of reaching the most vulnerable adolescents with effective programmes – urgently.”
High-impact interventions include condoms, antiretroviral treatment, prevention of mother-to-child transmission, voluntary medical male circumcision, communications for behaviour change, and targeted approaches for at-risk and marginalized populations. This is in addition to investments in other sectors such as education, social protection and welfare, and strengthening health systems.
The report is available at www.childrenandaids.org
Attention broadcasters: Video news stories and b-roll from Botswana, Ivory Coast, and Malawi are available at http://weshare.unicef.org/mediaresources
Note for Editors:
• About the Stocktaking Reports: