Towards ending AIDS
Working to secure the goal by 2030
HIV is a virus that attacks the immune system and leaves the human body defenseless against infections, leading to the incurable condition known as AIDS.
In Bangladesh, there is a low prevalence of AIDS, with the virus affecting 0.1 per cent of the general population. But evidence shows that new cases are on the rise.
HIV is spreading beyond the key groups, such as sex workers and injecting drug users. In the past five years, the numbers of housewives and pregnant mothers with HIV have risen.
The rise in female cases is seen globally as feminisation and an early sign of epidemic.
People infected with HIV can be traced in nearly all 64 districts of Bangladesh, but there is limited scope for monitoring the four Chittagong Hill Districts.
Millions of Bangladeshis migrate to mostly Middle East and Europe to work in blue-collar jobs. The HIV infections among migrant workers are high and increasing.
The district reporting the most HIV cases are Sylhet, Dhaka, Chittagong and Khulna, where there are also high concentrations of both male and female migrant workers
The pattern of transmission of HIV in Bangladesh is mostly heterosexual – involving sex with female and male sex workers and between married couples.
Identification of HIV cases has doubled between 2001 and 2011, but strong stigma remains about getting tested and seeking treatment, which the government has made free of cost.
Efforts to prevent spreading of HIV is also hindered by inadequate programme coverage, as more than 70 per cent are beyond current reach. Knowledge of the disease among the people continue to be limited.
But despite the risk of an AIDS epidemic, availability of funds for HIV prevention, treatment and care are declining, which is bound to hinder Bangladesh’s goal for ending AIDS by 2030.
Stopping Mother-to-Child Transmission:
UNICEF provides technical and financial support for efforts to prevent HIV-positive mother’s from infecting their babies.
Caring for children affected by AIDS:
UNICEF finds children who are infected or have parents who have HIV or have died of AIDS to provide counselling and funds for education and livelihood.
Securing Most-at-Risk Adolescents:
UNICEF works to develop policy, participation, networking and provides HIV and AIDs services to disadvantaged youths between 10 and 19 who are engaged in commercial sex work and inject drug.
UNICEF works to end AIDS in Bangladesh, focusing intervention in Sylhet, Dhaka, Chittagong and Khulna, where case concentration is highest.
HIV interventions contained an epidemic significantly between 1995 and 2014, saving 20,000 lives, averting 141,000 infections and limiting new cases to maximum 1,500 each year.
UNICEF promotes HIV treatment as prevention approach which reduces viral load and therefore chances of transmission, helping people with HIV live longer and healthier lives.
For that, UNICEF pushes for securing regular and free drug supply, appropriate service delivery and follow-up for patients.
Mainstreaming HIV education:
Only 11 per cent of adolescents have comprehensive knowledge of the disease. Information on this deadly disease is integrated into the UNICEF Life Skill Education programme.
Knowledge management and research:
UNICEF advocates and invests for generation of data and evidence in key areas of women and children.
Gender Assessment of the National HIV Response in Bangladesh - A country report 2014
Learning HIV while Playing – Toolkit for sport-based HIV and AIDS prevention education among adolescent in Bangladesh 2015