HIV/AIDS poses growing risk to children

Education, heath care essential to stemming tide

Yangon, 01 December 2004 – Today, on World AIDS Day, UNICEF noted the growing threat that HIV/AIDS poses to children and youth in Myanmar and across the globe.

UNICEF also noted that with over 96,000 women in Myanmar currently living with HIV/AIDS, more young children are at risk of contracting the disease following birth. 

“This is a worldwide tragedy,” said UNICEF Representative in Myanmar Carroll Long.  “Today there are over 2.2 million children throughout the world living with HIV/AIDS, and over half a million children have died from HIV/AIDS this year alone.”

“The East Asia region has seen the fastest increase in the number of girls and women living with HIV/AIDS anywhere in the world since 2002,” she added.

With over 333,000 people in Myanmar infected with HIV/AIDS, children also face a growing risk of being orphaned by the disease.

 “While the challenge before us is daunting, progress is being made in some areas,” noted Carroll Long.  “Today in Myanmar, students across the country are learning how to protect themselves against HIV/AIDS and other threats to their wellbeing, and more health services are being extended to those in need.”

“Still, much more remains to be done. We need to join together to fight discrimination against people infected with HIV/AIDS.  As long as people fear being shunned by their neighbours, family members and friends, they will be afraid to get tested themselves, to seek out treatment, and to help others in need.”

In Myanmar, UNICEF is working with local community members, health care providers and the Myanmar Red Cross to help young people learn how to protect themselves against HIV/AIDS.  UNICEF also supports HIV/AIDS education in primary and secondary schools throughout Myanmar, and is working with local partners to extend this education to out-of-school children and youth.

UNICEF continues to work with national and local-level health officials to help prevent the mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS, and is working with INGOs and the Myanmar Nurses Association to provide comprehensive home-based care for people living with HIV/AIDS. 

The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) establishes that children have the right to health and health treatment.  Myanmar ratified the CRC in 1991.


For further information please contact:
Jason Rush, Communication Officer, UNICEF in Myanmar
Phone: (95 1) 212 086;  Fax: (95 1) 212 063 ; Email:



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