Facts on Children
HIV and AIDS
HIV and AIDS and children
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 UNICEFs 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 33.2 million people worldwide were living with HIV
Approximately 2.1 million children under 15 were living with HIV
An estimated 2.5 million people were newly infected with HIV
An estimated 420,000 children under 15 were newly infected with HIV
An estimated 2.1 million people died of AIDS-related causes
An estimated 290,000 children under 15 died of AIDS-related causes
UNAIDS regional estimates for children under 14 living with HIV (2005):
Sub-Saharan Africa: Two million
South and South-East Asia: 170,000
East Asia: 6,400
Oceania (Australia, Fiji, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea): 3,000
Latin America: 32,000
Middle East and North Africa: 31,000
Eastern Europe and Central Asia: 6,900
Western and Central Europe: 4,000
North America: 11,000
2. The Four Ps
Prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT)
Every day, almost 1,500 children worldwide become infected with HIV the vast majority of them newborns infected through mother-to-child transmission
Only an estimated nine per cent of HIV-positive pregnant women in low- and middle-income countries received ARV prophylaxis for PMTCT in 2005 an increase from three per cent in 2003
Knowledge applied in high-income countries has already resulted in a steep drop in the rate of transmission to about two per cent.
Paediatric care and treatment:
Only one in 10 children needing antiretroviral treatment receive it the others face a bleak and short-lived future
Of the 2.3 million children under 15 living with HIV, an estimated 780,000 were in need of antiretroviral treatment in 2005
An estimated four million children exposed to or infected with HIV were in need of cotrimoxazole, a readily-available and low-cost antibiotic. Cotrimoxazole prevents life-threatening infections in HIV-positive children and infants born to HIV-positive mothers. It can also delay the onset of AIDS and the need for ARV therapy.
Evidence shows that in the absence of treatment, an estimated one third of infected infants die in their first year, and half die by their second birthday.
It is estimated that more than 10 million young people aged 15 to 24 are infected with HIV.
Prevalence rates are highest in sub-Saharan Africa and higher among young women than young men in the region.
In sub-Saharan Africa, fewer than one in three young people have accurate knowledge about HIV that will help them to protect themselves from the virus.
Protection, care and support for children affected by AIDS
According to estimates, 15.2 million children under the age of 18 have lost one or both parents to AIDS. About 12 million of these are in sub-Saharan Africa.
It is estimated that by 2010, more than 20 million children will have been orphaned by AIDS.
A 2006 survey of NGO actions in 28 sub-Saharan countries found that between 3.3 million and five million orphans and vulnerable children were receiving services in the form of education, health care, food, economic or psychosocial support.
Updated: February 2008