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Zim Hailed For Strong Pediatric Treatment Efforts

Zimbabwe has won plaudits for its strong efforts to combat pediatric HIV which is over 75 percent, 263Chat has learnt.

This is despite 1.1 million infants in Africa being exposed to the deadly disease.

According to UNAIDS Start Free Stay Free AIDS Free 2019 report released yesterday, strong efforts in Eswatini, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe have led to pediatric treatment levels of over 75%.

Countries such as Malawi and South Africa, according to the report however tested more than 85% of infants being exposed to HIV within the first two months after birth.

The report further notes that children living with HIV are less likely to be receiving treatment compared with adults living with HIV (63% [48–76%]), and this disparity is widening, especially in countries in western and central Africa.

In 2018, the report noted that Africa together accounted for, globally, 86% of pregnant women living with HIV; 80% of children aged 0–14 years acquiring HIV; 85% of adolescent girls and young women aged 10–24 years acquiring HIV; and 85% of children and adolescents aged 0–19 years living with HIV.

“As a result, an estimated 130 000 [87 000–210 000] children acquired HIV in utero, at birth or while breastfeeding in 2018 in the 23 focus countries. This is substantially fewer than the approximately 240 000 [160 000–380 000] children newly infected in 2010, but it is well short of the 2018 target of fewer than 40 000 children per year (4).”

“Countries such as Botswana, Malawi and Namibia have seen over 70% declines in the number of new child infections in the same time period,” further read the UNAIDS 2019 report.

UNAIDS expressed concern that the number of new HIV infections in adolescents age group was still three times higher (310 0000 [190 000–460 000]) than the 2020 target of below 100 000, with the rate of decline intolerably slow.

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