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World AIDS Day and Asia’s Children

According to the recent data from UNAIDS about 21 million children below the age of 15 are living with HIV. During 2008 about 289,000 children died due to AIDS and about 430,000 children were newly infected during 2008.

Daily about 1200 children below the age of 15 are infected with HIV.

On the eve of World AIDS Day, WHO released new recommendations on treatment, prevention and infant feeding in the context of HIV, based on the latest scientific evidence. WHO’s new guidelines have eight key principles and seven key recommendations.

In this context, the new WHO guideline for preventing mother-to-child transmission and improving child survival provides opportunities and challenges to Save the Children as a leading child centered agency particulary in the context of the “Every One Campaign”.

WHO now recommends the earlier delivery of more patient-friendly antiretroviral drugs (ARVs), and prolonged use of ARVs to reduce the risk of mother-to-child transmission of HIV.

For the first time, WHO recommends that HIV-positive mothers or their infants take ARVs while breastfeeding to prevent HIV transmission.

WHO now recommends that breastfeeding continue until the infant is 12 months of age, provided the HIV-positive mother or baby is taking ARVs during that period. This will reduce the risk of HIV transmission and improve the infant’s chance of survival.

Read the report (PDF 218KB)

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