A new UNICEF report has revealed that 71 percent of new HIV infections among adolescents aged 10–19 years are among girls globally.
According to the report, there are significant gaps in basic prevention and supporting sexual and reproductive health programs for teenage girls and young women, as well as long-standing gender inequities, discrimination, marginalization, and denial of rights, which are exacerbated by poverty and violence.
“Adolescents represent a growing share of people living with the virus worldwide. In 2022, about 1.7 million adolescents between the ages of 10 and 19 were living with the virus worldwide. Adolescents account for about four percent of all people living with HIV and about 10 percent of new HIV infections.
“In 2022, half as many (47 percent) adolescent girls and young women acquired HIV as in 2010. Even with this decline, we are not on track to meet our 2030 target to end new HIV infections among adolescent girls and young women.
“The global sex distribution of new HIV infections among adolescents is driven largely by sub-Saharan Africa, which carries the overwhelming global burden of HIV.
“In 2022, 33 percent of older adolescents aged 15–19 who were newly infected with HIV lived outside of the region. In the Middle East and North Africa region, the number of young people living with HIV has increased by 13 percent since 2010.
“In East Asia and the Pacific and Latin America and the Caribbean, two-thirds of new adolescent infections, age 10–19 years, occur in boys,” it said.
It went on to say that stigma, discrimination, societal disparities, and violence thwarted adolescents’ and young people’s efforts to protect themselves against the virus and other health concerns. Key populations, particularly young people, are particularly vulnerable.
Meanwhile, Dr. Aliyu Gambo, Director General of the National Agency for the Control of AIDS, is optimistic that the country is getting closer to meeting the 2030 target.
He said, “We are moving closer to what we had estimated. We are seeing ourselves getting closer to the bus stop that countries are expected to reach in the year 2030. So, we are very hopeful that by the year 2025, we will be able to reach that bus stop five years earlier than the year 2030.”