Treatment of children living with HIV

An estimated 3.2 million children were living with HIV at the end of 2013, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa. Majority of them acquire HIV from their HIV-infected mothers during pregnancy, birth or breastfeeding. With efficacious interventions the risk of mother-to-child HIV transmission can be reduced to 2%. However, such interventions are still not widely accessible or available in most resource-limited countries where the burden of HIV is highest. And these children who are already infected with HIV need to be enrolled in effective treatment to stay healthy.

The number of children (younger than 15 years) receiving ART in low- and middle-income countries more than doubled from 2009 to 2013, from 355 000 to 740 000. At the end of 2013, less than one quarter (23%, range 21– 25%) of children living with HIV were receiving ART in low-and middle-income countries compared with more than one third (37%, range 35–39%) of adults living with HIV.

WHO develops normative guidance for use by policymakers and programme managers and provides support for governments and national stakeholders in developing and implementing HIV prevention, testing, care and treatment services for children.