AS THE WORLD marks to 2017 World AIDS Day a new report published by UNICEF/ UNAIDS has revealed that four out of five children living with HIV in West and Central Africa are still not receiving antiretroviral therapy, more than four decades after the epidemic hit the world and that AIDS related deaths among adolescents aged 15- 19 are on the increased to 35 percent annually. The new report titled ‘Step up the Pace: towards an AIDS – free generation in West and Central Africa,’ which is jointly published by UNICEF and UNAIDS, shows that West and Central Africa is lagging behind on nearly every measure of HIV prevention, treatment and care programmes for children and adolescents. In 2016, an estimated 60,000 children were newly infected with HIV in West and Central Africa. UNICEF’s West and Central Africa regional director, Marie-Pierre Poirier said, “It is tragic that so many children and adolescents today are not receiving the treatment they need just because they have not been tested. “We need to make better use of innovations to increase early diagnosis and improve access to HIV treatment and care for children. For example, the point-of-care technology diagnostic brings testing closer to where children attend health services and self-testing can be a good option for adolescents who may be more comfortable with it.” The report states that the region’s coverage of life-saving antiretroviral therapy among children living with HIV is the lowest in the world because many countries have limited capacity to perform the tests needed for early

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