News / Health

UN: Test Children at Risk of AIDS at Birth

Imani, an abandoned child at Don Bosco Ngangi community center in Goma, North Kivu region, Democratic Republic of Congo, Aug. 6, 2013.
Imani, an abandoned child at Don Bosco Ngangi community center in Goma, North Kivu region, Democratic Republic of Congo, Aug. 6, 2013.
Reuters
More than a quarter of a million children each year are born infected with the virus that causes AIDS, but too few are being tested early to receive treatment and prolong their lives, the United Nations said on Wednesday.
 
Michele Sidibe, executive director of UNAIDS, called for diagnostic kits to be improved for detection in babies of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) that causes AIDS, and for their “still high” current price of $25-$50 to be brought down.
 
Children are the “forgotten” victims of the AIDS epidemic, yet 260,000 babies joined their ranks last year, mainly in sub-Saharan Africa, he said.
 
“Irrespective of the market size we need to make sure that diagnostics are made available for children,” he told a news conference in Geneva ahead of World AIDS Day on December 1.
 
“We made a lot of progress during the last two-three years in terms of treatment, in terms of medicines, in terms of making sure that the molecules are more well-targeted for children. But where we are failing is also making early diagnostics.”
 
U.S.-based Abbott Laboratories and Swiss drugmaker Roche are among the main manufacturers of HIV diagnostics, according to senior UNAIDS officials.
 
Some 3.3 million children under age 15 have HIV, but only 1.9 million of them require treatment today, according to the Geneva-based agency. Fewer than 650,000 or 34 percent of the 1.9 million received antiretroviral AIDS drugs in 2012, still a rise of 14 percent from the year before, it said.
 
Some 14 million adults with HIV need treatment, and nine million of them or 64 percent are receiving it, a far higher coverage rate than for children.
 
Priority countries
 
UNAIDS has identified 22 priority countries for stopping infections in children, 21 of them in sub-Saharan Africa, home to 90 percent of women living with HIV. The other is India.
 
In three of these priority countries — Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo and Malawi — fewer than 5 percent of infants at risk are being tested for HIV at birth, UNAIDS says.
 
“In priority countries, only three in 10 children receive HIV treatment," said Sidibe, who is from Mali. "We have seen tremendous political commitment and results to reduce mother-to-child transmission but we are failing the children who become infected.”
 
All children under five who test positive for the virus should be put on treatment, according to Mahesh Mahalingam, UNAIDS director for its global plan for stopping new infections in children.
 
Current PCR tests are able to detect the virus in a baby only after the age of six weeks and require sending a blood sample to a specialized laboratory, he said.
 
“What we looking for are easier tests that we can administer earlier on, this will help detect the virus and start them on medicines faster. We recommend that as soon as the child is known to be HIV positive, you start on anti-retroviral drugs,” Mahalingam said..
 
He added: “The earlier we can diagnose, the earlier we can treat them which increase chances of child survival. Children are now getting to grow into adults. If we start pretty early they have the same chance of living as any other children.”

You May Like

Changing Under Pressure, IS ‘Potent’ as Ever

US intel officials describe Ramadi's fall as concerning, but say it isn't emblematic of larger effort to degrade IS capabilities More

Nigeria Fuel Shortage Shows Fragility of Africa’s Oil Giant

Although it is the largest oil producer in Africa, country has nearly ran out of fuel it needs to power its generators, cars and airplanes over the past week More

Arrested Football Officials Come Mainly From the Americas

US Justice Department alleges defendants participated in 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through corruption of international soccer More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Cari
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
May 27, 2015 9:31 PM
Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs