The United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef) has just released its report 'Opportunities in times of crisis: to avoid HIV / AIDS from the first adolescence to the beginning of adulthood', which highlights a devastating and worrisome data: about 2,500 young people from all over the world contract AIDS every day, despite "the slight decrease" in the general prevalence rate among this group.

The data, which refer to the year 2009, also indicate that "41 percent of the new affected over 15 years in 2009 were people between 15 and 24 years." In this regard, he adds that "about five million young people of these ages lived with HIV / AIDS in 2009" and states that there are some two million adolescents between 10 and 19 years old affected by this disease. "Mostly, these are people who live in sub-Saharan Africa and are women. Very few of them are aware that they have contracted the virus, "says the work. The figures in this sense are clear: more than 60 percent of young people who have AIDS in the world are women and that this rate reaches 70 percent in sub-Saharan Africa.

There are about two million adolescents between 10 and 19 years affected by this disease

Margaret Chan, Director General of the World Health Organization, has commented on this fact stating that "the success achieved with respect to increasing access to antiretroviral drugs means that more young people with HIV / AIDS have higher survival rates, but many of them are not aware of their infection. "

The causes of these high contagion figures among the youngest? Experts point to some high-risk behaviors, such as early sexual initiation, adolescent pregnancy and drug use, which "are clear symptoms that something is not working in adolescents' environments, and these symptoms may be related to the violence, exploitation, abuse or abandonment ".

New prevention strategies

For his part, the director general of the World Bank, Mahmoud Mohieldin, has warned that "the world urgently needs new strategies to prevent HIV / AIDS," while adding that "for every two people who obtain treatment against this disease that threatens their lives, other five are infected, which puts in impossible situations many poor countries and the communities that make them up ".

The executive director of UNICEF, Anthony Lake, said that "this report encourages leaders at all levels to create a chain of prevention to keep adolescents and young people informed, protected and healthy." The families of the young people, their teachers and teachers, as well as the leaders of their communities "can play an important role in establishing habits of responsible behavior and advocate for the young people to be provided all the services they need to maintain themselves healthy. "

Our Voices - Young People and HIV (November 2019).