HIV / AIDS is destroying the future of countless children. Especially in Africa, the disease has taken away millions of girls and boys' parents. The facts are staggering. But there is also progress in the fight against the AIDS pandemic.


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AIDS orphans: 16.5 million children worldwide have lost their mother, father or both parents due to HIV / AIDS.

  • Around 13.7 million AIDS orphans live in sub-Saharan Africa aloneBut AIDS is also taking over more and more children from parents in Asia and Eastern Europe.
  • An estimated 2.1 million children are HIV-infected, with around 1.85 million living in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • In 2016, around 137,000 girls and boys (under the age of 15) were infected with the deadly HIV virus. Thus, the number of new infections compared to previous years has continued to fall - a development that makes hope.
  • Most children become infected with HIV through mother-to-child transmission , ie during pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding. The risk of mother-to-child transmission of HIV / AIDS can be drastically reduced by medication and by abstinence or restriction of breastfeeding. Significant progress has recently been made in the treatment of expectant mothers: in 2016, more than two-thirds of HIV-positive pregnant women worldwide received antiretroviral prophylaxis or medication. In the period from 2014 to 2016 , 790,000 girls and boys were prevented from becoming infected.


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In Africa, the AIDS epidemic orphaned millions of children - Photo: Bertil Strandell

The SOS Children's Villages are assisted by families affected by HIV / AIDS: a grandmother with her orphaned grandchildren in South Africa

  • The new infections among young people fall : 610,000 young people between 15 and 24 were newly infected with the virus 2016th In 2014 there were still 650,000. In total, 1.8 million people were infected with HIV in 2016.
  • The number of young AIDS deaths has dropped by more than 20 percent : In 2006, 79,000 young people died in poorer countries, compared to 64,000 in 2016.
  • Young women are at particular risk: around two-thirds of all young adults living with HIV are women. In southern Africa, the risk of HIV infection is more than twice as high for girls and young women (14 to 25 years) than for their male counterparts.
  • In 2016, a total of 919,000 children received antiretroviral therapy worldwide. That is a good 58,000 more than last year. However, children are treated much less frequently than adults.
  • In both 2015 and 2016, 120,000 HIV-infected children died.