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On World AIDS Day: More pregnant women and children must get treatment, says UNICEF

New York, Belgrade, 1 December 2012 – New HIV infections in children are down, but reaching the goal of an AIDS-free generation requires treating more pregnant women and children living with HIV, UNICEF said today.

Thanks to remarkable global commitment, the world has seen a 24 per cent reduction in new HIV infections in children – from 430,000 in 2009 to 330,000 in 2011.

And, as of December 2011, over 100,000 more children were receiving antiretroviral treatment compared to 2010.

But less than one-third of children and pregnant women are receiving the treatment they need, as opposed to the global average of 54 per cent for adults overall.

“It is simply wrong that adults are twice as likely as children to receive the treatment they need,” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake. “By definition, an AIDS-free generation depends on protecting the youngest and most vulnerable from HIV infection. We must do still more to help mothers and children who live with HIV be able to live free from AIDS. We must rededicate ourselves to boosting the number of pregnant women and children being tested and treated through basic antenatal and child health programmes.”

Treating HIV-positive pregnant women not only keeps them alive and well, but prevents babies from acquiring HIV during pregnancy, delivery and the breastfeeding period. Treatment can also prevent sexual transmission from an HIV-positive woman to an HIV-negative partner.

Working to end new HIV infections among children by 2015 and keeping their mothers alive is a key element of UNICEF’s overall commitment to child survival under the global movement, “A Promise Renewed.”

According to the latest data of the Serbian Institute of Public Health, there are 2,820 people living with HIV in the country, which places Serbia among the countries with low HIV infection frequency. One third of the newly infested are young people between 20 and 29 years of age.

The good news is that not a single baby in Serbia was born in with HIV virus, thanks to mother-to-child-transmission prevention programmes.


About UNICEF
UNICEF works in 190 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org

For more information, please contact:

-Kate Donovan, UNICEF New York, Tel + 1 212 303 7984, Mobile: + 1 917 3781 2128, mailto:kdonovan@unicef.org

-Sarah Crowe, Spokesperson for the Executive Director, Tel + 1 212 326 7206, Mobile + 1 646 209 1590, mailto:crowe@unicef.org

-Jelena Zajeganovic, UNICEF Serbia, Tel. +381 11 3602 100; Mob. + 381 63 315 079; jzajeganovic@unicef.org

 

 
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