AT least 72 088 children below the age of 14 are living with HIV in the country, while 52 390 are on anti-retroviral treatment, a government health official has said.
Health and Child Care ministry national prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV and paediatric HIV care and treatment co-ordinator Angela Mushavi said this means that 73% children are undergoing treatment.
“A lot of interventions and progress has been made as the country intensifies efforts to end Aids by 2025. At the moment, 73% of children living with HIV are on anti-retroviral treatment, while annually there are 5 000 new infections in children,” Mushavi said.
She said the country has seen an improvement in HIV-related issues, leading to a positive response and achievement of the 95-95-95 goals, which means that a lot has been achieved before the 2025 deadline.
A report last week by the Global Alliance to End Aids in Children said African leaders have indicated that they are committed to ending Aids in children by 2030.
The report quoted the World Health Organisation stating that half (52%) of children living with HIV/Aids globally are on life-saving treatment compared to 76% adults (three quarters) that are already receiving anti-retroviral treatment.
“Currently, around the world, a child dies from Aids-related causes every five minutes. In 2021, a total 160 000 children newly acquired HIV. Children accounted for 15% of all Aids-related deaths, despite the fact that only 4% of the total number of people living with HIV are children,” the report said.
It said ministers and representatives from 12 African countries, in partnership with networks of people living with HIV and community leaders, laid out their action plans to help find and provide testing to more pregnant women and link them to care.
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Some of the plans laid out by African leaders include caring for infants and children living with HIV. Statistics availed by the Health and Child Care ministry in 2016 state that 56, 2% children living with HIV knew their statuses.
The percentage increased in 2021 to 72,5% children who know their HIV statuses.