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Dublin: 8 °C Friday 21 February, 2020

Number of teenagers dying from AIDS has tripled since 2000

The figures from UNICEF show it to be the number two cause of death among teenagers worldwide.

Mani Djelassem, a 17-year-old who was born HIV-positive speaking at a UNICEF news conference earlier today
Mani Djelassem, a 17-year-old who was born HIV-positive speaking at a UNICEF news conference earlier today
Image: AP/Press Association Images

THE NUMBER OF teenagers dying from AIDS has tripled in the last 15 years, a major new data set from UNICEF has found.

The disease is now the second leading cause of death among teenagers worldwide, and is the biggest killer of teenagers in Africa.

The international children’s organisation is highlighting the big increases in deaths ahead of World AIDS Day which falls on 1 December.

Speaking about the new data, head of UNICEF’s global HIV/AIDS programme Craig McClure said:

It is critical that young people who are HIV-positive have access to treatment, care and support… at the same time, those who are HIV-negative must have access to the knowledge and means to help them to stay that way.

How many teenagers are affected?

Currently there are around two million teenagers aged 15 to 19 living with the HIV virus.

Half of these live in only six countries: South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, India, Mozambique and Tanzania. 

Out of these, the infection rate is much higher among young females, accounting for around seven out of every 10 new infections.

The figures for those in the younger age category are also pretty shocking, with 2.6 million children aged 0 to 14 living with the condition in 2014.

Since the year 2000 UNICEF estimates that around 1.3 million infections among younger children have been averted – pointing to breakthroughs in the prevention of mother-to-child infections as the reason for this.

Read: “There is something profound about holding someone as they take their last breaths”

Also: “There are worse things than dying” – how Irish medical workers deal with the final journey

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