Each day in 2006, more than 1 000 children around the world were infected by HIV (the virus that causes Aids), according to a UNICEF report.
In total, 410 000 to 660 000 children under the age of 15 were infected with HIV last year, the UN agency said. Most of the children were infected during or immediately after their birth to HIV-positive mothers, the Associated Press reported.
UNICEF said that about half of the children infected last year will die of Aids-related diseases within two years if they do not receive appropriate medical treatment.
Some progress noted
The report did say there has been progress in preventing the transmission of HIV from pregnant women to their babies. For example, some countries in sub-Saharan Africa - including Namibia, Rwanda, South Africa and Swaziland - increased access to treatment for vulnerable mothers between 2004 and 2005, the AP reported.
However, only seven countries worldwide (Argentina, Brazil, Botswana, Jamaica, Russia, Thailand, and Ukraine) are on track to reach the goal of providing access to treatment for 80 percent of HIV-infected pregnant women, said UNICEF spokesman Patrick McCormick.
In 2006, just nine percent of HIV-infected pregnant women in low- to middle-income countries received antiretroviral drugs that can reduce the risk of mother-to-child transmission of HIV, the AP reported.
Each year, Aids kills more than 2.9 million people worldwide, including about 380 000 children. – (HealthDayNews)