One-third HIV cases in age group 15-24: UNICEF report

Friday, February 25, 2011

NEW DELHI - Of the over 33 million HIV-AIDS cases reported worldwide every year, around one-third are adolescents of the age group 15-24 years, revealed a report by United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

The State of the World’s Children (SOWC) report 2011 was released by UNICEF in the capital Friday.

According to UNICEF’s annual flagship report on the adolescents (10-19 years) in the world, the risk of HIV infection is considerably higher among adolescent females and young women than their male counterparts of the same age group.

“There is lack of comprehensive and correct knowledge related to HIV. In developing countries, the problem is even more serious,” said Karin Hulshof, representative of UNICEF India.

According to the UNAIDS, there are about 7,400 new infections diagnosed every day, with about 40 percent of those being in the 15-24 age group.

Only 30 percent males and 19 percent females have correct knowledge about the disease, the report said.

The report recommendations called for greater involvement and investment by the government as India shared nearly 20 percent of the adolescent population in the world.

“India is home to more than 243 million adolescents of the total 1.2 billion adolescents across the globe. We have to consider that this strata is the future of the country, especially when we call India a young nation,” said Naveen Jindal, MP and convenor of parliamentary forum on children.

The ministry of women and child development (MWCD) also announced the success of its pilot programme SABLA — Rajiv Gandhi Scheme for Empowerment of Adolescent Girls — aimed at addressing the problems of adolescent girls between 11 and 18 years.

The central government had doled out nearly Rs.1,000 crore for the central scheme that is being implemented through Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) projects and anganwadi centres.

“We plan to reach out over one crore girls in 200 identified districts after a baseline survey was conducted. Ministry will consider more such models if SABLA is successful,” said D.K. Sikri, secretary, MWCD.

The report also said that with 81 million young people out of work globally in 2009, youth unemployment remains a concern in almost every country.

“In the year 2008, youth were nearly three times more likely to be unemployed in India,” said a UNICEF official who was a part of the study.

More than seventy million adolescents of lower secondary age are currently out of school, and on a global level girls still lag behind boys in secondary school participation, the report mentioned.

Filed under: HIV, Medicine

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