Two million young people infected with HIV worldwide

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AIDS: Two million HIV-infected young people worldwide

The UN Children's Fund UNICEF has pointed out that an estimated two million teenagers worldwide are currently infected with HIV. A large proportion of those infected have no idea of ​​their own infection, according to UNICEF. According to the children's aid agency's experts, young people in developing and emerging countries are particularly affected, most of them in sub-Saharan Africa.

The risk of HIV infection is particularly high for teenagers in developing and emerging countries, the experts from the UN Children's Fund said. According to UNICEF, 2,500 adolescents between the ages of 15 and 24 worldwide are infected with HIV every day. This age group accounts for almost every second contagion, according to the report “Opportunity in Crisis” published by UNICEF together with other UN organizations and the World Bank today. For the first time, the report contains comprehensive statistical information on HIV infections among young people.

2,500 new HIV infections among adolescents every day According to UNICEF, around two million adolescents between the ages of ten and 19 live worldwide with an HIV infection - the majority of them in developing and emerging countries. It is particularly problematic that many teenagers are unaware of their infection, the experts at the UN Children's Fund said. According to UNICEF, the main reason for this is the lack of access to confidential advice and testing options. The UN Children's Fund therefore called for all adolescents to have access to education and aid programs. Regarding the causes of HIV infections, UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake said that "for many young people, HIV infection is a result of neglect, exclusion and violence". Too often, the family and communities of those affected would close their eyes to this fact, Lake said. The Opportunity in Crisis report concludes that 890,000 young people were newly infected with HIV in 2009. According to UNICEF, 2,500 new HIV infections occur every day between the ages of 15 and 24. Although there are now more educational programs in almost all countries, almost every second infection in this age group is reported, reports the UN Children's Fund.

Young women are particularly infected with HIV According to UNICEF data, girls and young women are still at the highest risk of HIV infection. The proportion of young women in HIV infections worldwide is around 60 percent, and even 71 percent in the particularly badly affected South African countries, said the experts from the UN Children's Fund. Although numerous education and support programs have been launched, young women in developing and emerging countries often have no access to information and little choice about their own sexuality, according to the "Opportunity in Crisis" report. This also applies to adolescents in Eastern Europe, where an increase in HIV infections among young people can also be observed. The HIV virus is spread in the Eastern European countries primarily through contaminated spraying tools, the experts from the UN children's aid agency report. In this context, according to UNICEF, "hopelessness and hopelessness, as well as a lack of support from their families and communities, are the most common causes of young people taking drugs or prostituting themselves."

Millennium Development Goals Endangered - Spread of HIV Cannot Be Stopped According to the United Nations Children's Fund, the Millennium Development Goal to stop the spread of HIV infections by 2015 is "still a long way off in many countries". Because currently hundreds of thousands of young people are still infected with the HI virus every year. The “Opportunity in Crisis” report therefore formulates nine recommendations on AIDS prevention in order to reduce the number of HIV infections among young people. For example, UNICEF advocates an expansion of "AIDS education for young people in schools, health centers and religious institutions", whereby "new technologies" could also help. In Uganda, for example, young people from the largest telephone company would have been given free minutes if they correctly answered questions about HIV / AIDS via text message on their mobile phone in the "Text to change" program. Above all, however, it is crucial that "disadvantaged children and adolescents are better protected from the consequences of extreme poverty, exploitation and neglect," said UNICEF. “Very early sexual contacts, teenage pregnancies and drug abuse” are mostly signs of a difficult social environment for young people, according to the United Nations Children's Fund. In addition, UNICEF also advocated that young people play an active role in the prevention of AIDS. (fp)

Also read:
China: Clinics deny AIDS patients
UN warns of rapid spread of AIDS
AIDS: SI virus is considered a precursor to HIV
Why some do not get AIDS despite HIV
AIDS: no fate with correct antibodies?
World AIDS Day: more solidarity required

Image: Gerd Altmann /

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