HIV and AIDS
In 2005, UNICEF and partners launched the Unite for Children, Unite against AIDS campaign to put children on the global AIDS agenda. HIV and AIDS and their impact on children continue to remain at the core of UNICEF’s work. For too long, children have been the missing face in the HIV and AIDS response and their needs have often been overlooked. Yet, they are the ones who offer the greatest hope for defeating the epidemic.
HIV and AIDS key data:
1. Global and regional estimates
- An estimated 33.4 million people worldwide were living with HIV (2008)
- Approximately 2.1 million children under 15 were living with HIV (2007)
- An estimated 2.5 million people were newly infected with HIV (2007)
- An estimated 420,000 children under 15 were newly infected with HIV (2007)
- An estimated 2.1 million people died of AIDS-related causes (2007)
- An estimated 290,000 children under 15 died of AIDS-related causes (2007)
UNAIDS regional estimates for children under 14 living with HIV (2007)
- Sub-Saharan Africa: 1.8 million
- South Asia: 99,000
- East Asia and the Pacific: 61,000
- Latin America and the Caribbean: 42,000
- Middle East and North Africa: 18,000
- Central and Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CEE/CIS): 20,000
2. The Four Ps
Prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT)
- Every day, nearly 1,200 children worldwide become infected with HIV – the vast majority of them newborns infected through mother-to-child transmission
- In low- and middle-income countries, the proportion of HIV-positive pregnant women receiving antiretroviral prophylaxis to reduce the risk of transmission increased from 10 per cent in 2004 to 45 per cent in 2008.
- In Eastern and Southern Africa, the proportion of HIV-positive pregnant women receiving antiretroviral prophylaxis for PMTCT increased from 11 per cent in 2004 to 58 per cent in 2008.
Paediatric care and treatment:
- Sub-Saharan Africa is home to nearly 90 per cent of all children living with HIV.
- Most children are infected with the virus while still in the womb, during birth or while breastfeeding.
- In low- and middle-income countries, 275,700 HIV-positive children received antiretroviral treatment in 2008, compared with 75,000 in 2005 and 127,300 in 2006.
Preventing infection among young adolescents and young people
- In 2007, young people aged 15-24 accounted for about 45 per cent of new HIV infections among adults aged 15 and over.
- The total number of young men and women aged 15-24 living with HIV is estimated at 4.9 million in 2008. Of these, 2.9 million live in Eastern and Southern Africa.
- Recent evidence suggests that HIV prevalence among pregnant women aged 15–24 attending antenatal clinics has declined since 2000–2001 in 11 of 15 countries with sufficient data. These include 8 countries in Eastern and Southern Africa.
Protection, care and support for children affected by AIDS
- In 2007, the estimated number of children under 18 who have lost one or both parents due to AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa reached 14.1 million. Globally, the estimated number is 17.5 million.
- The number of children living in institutional settings globally is estimated to be more than 2 million, but even in countries affected by AIDS, it is usually poverty, rather than lack of familial support, that fuels the demand for orphanages.
- Many countries are strengthening policy and legislation in order to help children stay in families and to provide family-based alternative care to children outside of families. The goal is to make institutional care a last-resort option.
Last updated: February 2010