AIDS Risk Children Should be Tested Soon After Birth – U.N.
Over 250,000 children are born with HIV every year and only a small portion of those children are tested for the virus and treated properly, according to the United Nations. The Executive director of UNAIDS, Michele Sidibe, is calling for diagnostic kits to be improved to better detect the virus in babies. He is also saying that the price of these kits needs to be reduced, since they are still hovering between $25 and $50 apiece. Sidibe states that we have made progress by improving the treatments to target children more effectively, but we still aren’t making early diagnostics like we should be.
Nearly 3.3 million children under the age of 15 are infected with HIV today, but out of that number only 1.9 million of them need to treatment for the virus. Only 34 percent of the children needing treatment are actually getting it while 64 percent of adults who need treatment are receiving it.
Currently test kits can’t check children for the virus until they are six weeks old, and even then a blood sample has to be sent to a specialized lab. Mahesh Mahalingam, the director of UNAIDS, states that if the process were simpler and could be performed in children at a younger age, more children could be saved and allowed to live a long life.
Mahesh believes that every infected child under the age of 5 should be treated with retroviral drugs, but currently only 3 in 10 children are getting that treatment in the most affected countries in the world.