YOUNG PEOPLE, HIV AND AIDS
- AIDS is the leading cause of death among young people (aged 10-24) in Africa, and second leading cause globally
- Young women are twice as likely to acquire HIV as young men
- Unprotected sex is the most common route of HIV infection among young people
- Low HIV and sexual health knowledge is a key barrier to reducing HIV infections among young people
- A ‘life-cycle’ approach to HIV prevention can help respond to the changing challenges people face at different ages
Adolescents and young people represent a growing share of people living with HIV worldwide. In 2018 alone, 510,000 [300,000-740,000] young people between the ages of 10 to 24 were newly infected with HIV, of whom 190,000 [59,000-380,000] were adolescents between the ages of 10 and 19. To compound this, most recent data indicate that only 19 per cent of adolescent girls and 14 per cent of adolescent boys aged 15-19 in Eastern and Southern Africa – the region most affected by HIV – have been tested for HIV in the past 12 months and received the result of the last test. The testing rates in West and Central Africa and South Asia are even lower. If current trends continue, there will still be some 183,000 annual new HIV infections among adolescents in 2030.
While there has been promising progress in the HIV response, children continue to be affected by the epidemic
Of the estimated 37.9 million [confidence bounds: 32.7-44.0 million] people living with HIV worldwide in 2018, 2.8 million [2.0-3.8 million] were children aged 0-19. Each day in 2018, approximately 980 children became infected with HIV and approximately 320 children died from AIDS related causes, mostly because of inadequate access to HIV prevention, care and treatment services.
As of 2018, roughly 14.9 million [11.3-19.1 million] children under the age of 18 had lost one or both parents to AIDS. Millions more have been affected by the epidemic, through a heightened risk of poverty, homelessness, school dropout, discrimination and loss of opportunities. These hardships include prolonged illness and death. Of the estimated 770,000 [570,000-1.1 million] people who died of AIDS-related illnesses in 2018, 120,000 [75,900-180,000] (or approximately 15 per cent) of them were children under 20 years of age.