18 million children in Africa will have lost one or both parents to AIDS by 2010

September 15, 2015

"The number of orphans will continue to rise for at least the next decade, and progress in education, health and development will remain a distant dream," Esther Guluma, head of UNICEF in West and Central Africa, said.

She added that even if new adult infections peaked today, the number of AIDS orphans would still continue to increase because an HIV-positive person often continues to live up to 10 years after the virus is transmitted.

The impact of HIV/AIDS therefore would increase "exponentially" in subsequent years, hampering development efforts as orphans miss out on school and health care, according to Reuters.

In addition, UNICEF estimates that in West Africa -- where 680,000 children ages 14 and younger are living with HIV/AIDS -- 1% of HIV-positive children and pregnant women receive antiretroviral treatment, far below the 2010 goal of 80%, Reuters reports.

However, Eric Mercier, adviser on HIV/AIDS for UNICEF in West and Central Africa, said lobbying is proving successful in getting antiretroviral prices reduced and convincing governments to allocate more resources to assist children and pregnant women (Tattersall, Reuters, 10/19).

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