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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Analysts Warn of Regional Proxy Conflict in Afghanistan

Analysts warn if Kabul’s neighbors do not start to cooperate, competing desires for influence could deteriorate into a bloody proxy war in the country More

Saudi Intelligence Chief Replaced

Bandar bin Sultan came under criticism for supporting al Qaida, prompting King Abdallah to wrest Syria operations away from him in February, handing them to Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef More

Poetry Magazine editor Don Share talks what makes a good poem with VOA's David Byrd

What makes a good poem? And is poetry as viable an art form as it once was? To find out, VOA's David Byrd spoke to Don Share, the editor of Poetry Magazine. 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.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid