Did you know that 1,000 children are infected with HIV every day, most of them through transmission of the virus at birth? HIV is both preventable and treatable.

HIV and AIDS have a devastating effect on children. They deprive children of parental care and protection. In 2009, there were an estimated 16.6 million children worldwide who had lost one or both parents to AIDS.

These children are often forced to replace parents as head of the household and care for younger siblings. This means they can't go to school and get an education because they're forced to work to support themselves and their family. 

Millions of young people also face the risk of contracting HIV themselves - HIV is increasingly concentrated among young people, particularly girls. In 2010, there were 390,000 children under the age of 15 infected with HIV, and in 2008 young people aged 15 to 24 accounted for around 40% of all new adult HIV infections worldwide.

How UNICEF is helping

UNICEF works with communities and governments around the world to prevent new infections among young people, and eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV. We also protect and support children who've lost parents to AIDS.

We provide communities with a basic education, including knowledge about sexuality and HIV, can make a big difference in preventing HIV and AIDS. We also support programmes to educate young people about HIV, sex and relationships through schools, the media and social clubs.

In addition, UNICEF is working to ensure that all pregnant women with HIV receive the right medicine and care to prevent them passing HIV onto their baby. Our aim is to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV by 2015.

With your donations and support between 2005 and 2010, our AIDS campaign helped to:

  • Decrease the number of children infected with HIV from approximately 500,000 to 370,000 per year
  • Increase the number of HIV-positive children on life-saving treatment from less than 50,000 to more 350,000
  • Reduce AIDS-related deaths among children under 15 by 19%

Despite these achievements, so much still needs to be done to protect, treat and support children affected by HIV and AIDS.

 
Elson's mum learned she was HIV-positive while pregnant with him. She took part in a UNICEF-supported mother-to-child prevention programme during her pregnancy and through Elson’s first 18 months. Elson is now 21-months old and HIV-negative © UNICEF/NYHQ2011-0266/CHRISTINE NESBITT
Elson's mum learned she was HIV-positive while pregnant with him. She took part in a UNICEF-supported mother-to-child prevention programme during her pregnancy and through Elson’s first 18 months. Elson is now 21-months old and HIV-negative.© UNICEF/NYHQ2011-0266/CHRISTINE NESBITT