Fact Sheet: HIV/AIDS and Children
Preventing HIV Transmission from Mothers to Children (PMTCT)
Jamaica has made major strides in the effort to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
- 88% of HIV-positive pregnant women in Jamaica now receive antiretroviral medication.
- The mother-to-child transmission rate has dropped from 25% in 2002 to 10% in 2006.
- Ninety per cent of infants born to HIV positive mothers receive ARV prophylaxis.
- Continued efforts are required to protect the 10% of exposed infants and mothers who are still slipping through the cracks.
Providing Pediatric Treatment
Jamaica has also made significant progress in treating more HIV-positive children. Over 340 children are now on treatment, moving Jamaica closer to providing universal coverage.
- 60% of children and adults living with HIV are on antiretroviral treatment (August 2007), compared to 53% at the end of 2006 and 50% at the end of 2005.
- 75% of adults and children with HIV are known to be on treatment 12 months after initiation of ARV therapy.
Preventing Infection among Adolescents and Young People
Increased knowledge about HIV among Jamaican adolescents and young people, due largely to targeted interventions in schools and communities, is yet to bring significant results in terms of reducing risky sexual practices.
- 33% of females and 25% of males aged 15-24 reportedly do not use a condom with non-regular partners.
- An alarming 24% of girls are subjected to forced sex, and transactional sex with older men is emerging as an issue that continues to make girls particularly vulnerable to HIV infection.
Protecting and Supporting Children Affected by AIDS
An estimated 20,000 children are affected by HIV/AIDS, of whom approximately 5,000 are orphaned.
- A rapid assessment conducted in 2002 concluded that children affected by HIV/AIDS suffer from poor nutrition, lack of schooling, trauma from witnessing the death of a family member, and non-supportive family and community environments. The extremely high levels of stigma and discrimination associated with the disease put children at a higher risk of exclusion and marginalization.
- Jamaica is falling behind most in the protection and support of OVCs. Despite being one of the first countries in the Caribbean to draft and adopt a National Plan of Action on Orphans and other Children Made Vulnerable by HIV/AIDS in 2003, uneven implementation of the plan leaves countless children without the appropriate social services they need.