Maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health

Adolescents particularly affected by new HIV infections - new UN report calls for action to improve protection of young people

Opportunity in Crisis Report

Every day, an estimated 2500 young people are newly infected with HIV, according to the report Opportunity in Crisis: Preventing HIV from early adolescence to young adulthood launched on 1 June 2011. While HIV prevalence has declined slightly among young people, young women and adolescent girls face a disproportionately high risk of infection due to biological vulnerability, social inequality and exclusion.

For the first time, the joint publication by UNICEF, UNAIDS, UNESCO, UNFPA, ILO, WHO and The World Bank, presents data on HIV infections among young people and highlights the risks adolescents face as they transition to adulthood.

Among the 10 to 19 year age group, an estimated 2 million adolescents (1.8 million to 2.4 million) are living with HIV, 65% of these are adolescent girls. Most of them live in sub-Saharan Africa, and most do not know their status. By the age of 19, the combined impact of many factors - biology, lack of knowledge, limited access to services, social norms perpetuating gender inequity - cuts short the lives of these girls or inhibits their ability to achieve their potential.

"Our success with improving access to antiretrovirals means more young people are surviving with HIV, but many are still unaware of their status,” said World Health Organization Director-General, Dr. Margaret Chan. “WHO is committed to helping improve adolescents' access to HIV testing and counselling and to making sure that health services address their needs for prevention, treatment, care and support."

Share