World Aids Day: Number of Adolescents Dying From Aids Has Tripled
As the world pauses for thought on the Aids crisis that still grips much of the world, it has been revealed that adolescent deaths from the disease have tripled since 2000.
December 1 marks World Aids Day – a stark reminder of the ongoing fight against Aids and HIV in East African countries. And, despite overall progress against the epidemic, one age bracket in particular is tumbling further into crisis.
Rwanda is among the countries leading the fight against Aids and HIV in the East African region. A large-scale reduction in HIV prevelance has stabalised at roughly 3 percent among the general population – aged 15-49 – over the last 10 years.
However, the country has highlighted the need to prevent and treat cases of HIV among children as part of its strategy for an AIDS-free generation by 2030.
Tanzania is another leader in the region with an average prevalence of 5 percent across the country. Like Rwanda, it’s focused on achieving the “90-90-90” target, where 90 percent of people living with HIV know their status, 90 percent who know their status have access to treatment and 90 percent of those treated have suppressed viral loads.
Tanzania’s greatest challenge right now is reducing prevalence in parts of the country where it soars beyond 20 percent in places.
The other side of the story
Not all the figures coming out of East Africa on World Aids Day are quite so promising though. While new infections are declining in Kenya, Unicef has highlighted a surge in HIV infections among adolescents in the country. Figures show Kenya is now among the six African nations with the highest number of adolescent infections.
Aids levels among children and adolescents is a key concern for African nations – at every stage of the fight against Aids. Ethiopia is reporting 24,050 new infected in the 15-24 age bracket, despite good progress against overall infections.