Stand united with the Free To Shine
Let’s make our vision a reality, let’s end childhood AIDS in Africa by 2030 and keep mothers healthy.
Together we can achieve it!
We each have an important role in creating an AIDS-free future for the children of Africa. To be able to contribute towards achieving this vision, we all need to:
- Know the facts about what causes children to become infected with HIV.
- Understand what we can do as individuals and collectively to prevent this.
- Act to protect our health and that of our children and our communities.
So, take the first step toward success in the fight against childhood HIV and AIDS:
- Learn more about the cycle of risk for childhood HIV and AIDS.
- Share the knowledge through your social media networks to help increase awareness.
The Reproductive YearsFind Out More
The Reproductive Years
- WHO recommends that all women, especially those of childbearing age, should know their HIV status and receive treatment as required. 2
- Adolescents are the only age group experiencing a rise in AIDS related deaths, with the majority (65%) of those affected being girls. 5
- Of all adults newly infected with HIV in Africa, south of the Sahara, one in four (25%) is an adolescent girl or young woman in their reproductive years (aged 15 to 24 years old), compared to one in five globally. 4
- Women make up over half (56%) of newly infected adults. 4
- Tailored, effective and accessible sexual health and family planning services are needed to prevent new infections and support women already infected, for their own wellbeing and to minimise HIV transmission to their future offspring. 2
Mother-to-Child TransmissionFind Out More
- The transmission of HIV from a mother living with HIV to her child during pregnancy, labour, delivery or breastfeeding is called mother-to-child transmission (MTCT). 7
- Most new cases of HIV in children under 15 years old are caused by MTCT. 5
- If a mother living with HIV does not receive the appropriate interventions, there is up to a 45% chance that she will infect her child through MTCT, but with appropriate interventions this can be reduced to below 5%. 7
- In Africa, south of the Sahara, one in five (20%) of pregnant women living with HIV do not receive treatment to stop MTCT. 2
- Women can become infected with HIV before, during and after pregnancy which means that repeat HIV testing during pregnancy and breastfeeding is needed, to provide fast results and where required, fast intervention to prevent the transmission of HIV to their baby. 2
- Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection that can also be transmitted from a mother to her child. If a pregnant woman infected with syphilis is not treated there is a greater than 50% risk of serious adverse outcomes including: stillbirth, early neonatal death, a pre-term or low birth weight baby or the baby suffering from a serious infection. 8
- Globally each year, nearly 1 million syphilis infections occur among pregnant women which result in an estimated 350,000 adverse birth outcomes due to congenital syphilis. 9
- An estimated 64,000 deaths, or 0.6% of all deaths in children under 5 years old, were due to syphilis in 2004. 10
- The services, approaches and interventions required to prevent mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of syphilis are similar to those required for the PMTCT of HIV, making an integrated approach to the dual elimination of HIV and syphilis feasible and it can achieve improved health outcomes for women and children. 10
Children Born With HIVFind Out More
Children Born With HIV
- WHO recommends that babies exposed to HIV are tested within the first two months of life, but this only happens in 50% of cases in Africa, south of the Sahara. 2
- Treating babies infected with HIV by the time they are 6 weeks old decreases their risk of dying by 76%. 11
- Without treatment, children under 1 year old born with HIV have the highest risk of death at 2 to 3 months old. 3,6,12
- When standard lab-based testing is used to test the HIV status of babies, around half (46%) of the babies are diagnosed after this period of highest risk, resulting in delayed treatment and an increased risk of death. 3,6,12
- Advances in technology now allow for at-birth testing of babies, performed locally with results being available on the same day, which means that those babies infected with HIV can quickly receive the treatment they need. 13