SUNDAY marks World Aids Day, but the battle against the virus is far from over.
According to Dr Chewe Luo of the United Nations Children’s Fund, 72% of new HIV infections are among teenage girls.
She was speaking at the launch of the latest global statistical data on kids and HIV ahead of World Aids Day.
“When you look at the figures, you have almost three times as many infections in adolescent girls as you have in boys,” she said.
The fund said globally 82% of mothers had access to treatment, 62% of adults had access but only 54% of children were being treated.
The fund’s information showed that more than 95% of pregnant women living with HIV in South Africa and 60% of children had access to ARV treatment.
She said as long as South Africa had a high number of people living with HIV and a high rate of new infections, especially in children and teenagers, more needed to be done around prevention.
The report said around 160 000 children under nine were newly infected with HIV last year.
According to the report, 320 children and teenagers died of Aids-related causes last year, most in Africa. In most cases, this was due to a lack of access to ARVs.
Luo said while different areas had come a long way in preventing transmissions from mothers to children, they were nowhere near completely ending it.
She said this was because of differences in treatment access in different regions.
She said the information showed many teenagers were living with HIV.
She said while children who were at risk of being infected with HIV by their mothers were saved, something needed to be done about new infections among teenagers. – NEWS24