800,000 children living with HIV not on treatment —UNAIDS

A new report released by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS has revealed that treatment coverage among children living with HIV is poor.

According to the report, globally, an estimated 800,000 children living with HIV did not receive treatment in 2021.

The report, titled; “In Danger,” launched by UNAIDS showed that children living with HIV are often being left behind. 

The UNAIDS report indicates that every day, 4.000 people—including 1,100 young people (aged 15 to 24 years)—become infected with HIV.

The report warns that if current trends continue, 1.2 million people will be newly infected with HIV in 2025, which is three times more than the 2025 target of 370,000 new infections. 

The report notes that progress against HIV had slowed down since the COVID-19 pandemic while lamenting that the human impact of the stalling progress on HIV is chilling.

It noted, “As HIV testing and treatment programmes expand, children living with HIV are often being left behind. In 2021, an estimated 800 000 (640, 000– 990, 000) children living with HIV were still not receiving HIV treatment. 

“Children comprised four percent of people living with HIV in 2021 but 15 percent of AIDS-related deaths, and the gap in HIV treatment coverage between children 

and adults is increasing rather than narrowing.”

The report also revealed that in 2021, 650,000 (500,000–860,000) people died of AIDS-related causes, amounting to one every minute. 

The UNAIDS report pointed out that without accelerated action to prevent people from reaching advanced HIV disease, AIDS-related causes will remain a leading cause of death in many countries. 

The report further said the continued rising new HIV infection in some regions could halt or even reverse progress made against AIDS-related deaths.

According to the report, HIV funds from bilateral donors other than the US have plummeted by 57 per cent over the last decade, adding that HIV investments have not replaced lost international funding, mainly due to worsening economic conditions.

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