In the news

Most Read

  • Telkom CEO Sipho Maseko to step down
    Telkom has announced that its CEO and executive director Sipho Maseko will step down on 30 June 2022. The telecoms company said the process to appoint a successor is well underway and a designated group CEO will be announced in the not too distant future.
  • #BehindtheBrandManager: Meet Tamsin Darroch of Kellogg's South Africa
    Few food brands have the historical connection with consumers around the world as Kellogg's does, having held meaning at the breakfast table for over a century. By Lauren Hartzenberg
  • How cooking oil brought a moment of joy during a dreadful week
    It is possible that cooking oil prevented more looting in South Africa in the last week than the president, the ANC, the intelligence community, the army and the police combined. This, without question, says something about the versatility of the product. It says even more about the state of the state. When you are shown up by canola, you might want to revisit your strategy. By Howard Feldman
  • Park Advertising launches digital performance unit, Lucid Media
    Performance Media across Search, Social and Programmatic platforms is the single fastest growing area of digital media in South Africa. Combine that with the detailed analysis of campaign management, tagging and ad operations, and it becomes apparent that these highly specialist functions require a highly specialised unit.
  • Transnet hit by cyberattack - Operations disrupted nationwide
    The Transnet Port Terminals website has been hacked, implying that all companies under Transnet have been affected. All Transnet websites were down at the time when reporting was done for this SA Trucker article. The publication cited sources who requested to remain anonymous because they are not allowed to speak to the media.
  • Business unusual for small enterprises on the road to recovery
    The Covid-19 pandemic has hit South Africa's small business sector hard and there are grim statistics to bear this out. Those statistics will not be repeated here. After all, if you are a small business owner setting out on the road to recovery, the last thing you probably want is more details of the toll the pandemic has taken on small enterprises. Far more useful would be some good, solid tips on how to build back better after any business setbacks. By Ameen Hassen
Show more
Advertise on Bizcommunity

Subscribe to industry newsletters

New estimates show 14.8 million children globally are HIV-exposed but uninfected

In many countries with a high HIV prevalence, at least 95% of children born to mothers living with HIV remain HIV-uninfected. This is due to the success of wide-scale provision of antiretroviral therapy to mothers with HIV to prevent transmission to their children during pregnancy, labour or breastfeeding.

Read more:
South Africa steps up its game to end mother-to-child transmission of HIV

Children born to mothers with HIV are known as HIV-exposed. While many children who are HIV-exposed and also HIV-uninfected are growing and developing well, some face greater risks.

They are more likely to be hospitalised with severe infections when they are infants. They are also at higher risk of dying before their second birthday. And the risks are even higher when babies who are HIV-exposed and uninfected are born early, with low weight at birth, or to mothers with severe HIV disease.

This is why it’s important to know as much as possible about this population of children, how many there are and where they are in the world.

Read more:
Babies born to mums with HIV face higher risks even though they're HIV negative

Every year the United Nations provides key estimates related to the HIV epidemic. These usually include the number of people living with HIV, the number of new infections and the number of people receiving treatment. In 2018 for the first time, estimates for children aged 0-14 years who were HIV-exposed and uninfected were included.

We used the most recent UNAIDS estimates, published in July 2019, to calculate the share of each country in the global total of children who are HIV-exposed and uninfected. These estimates allow us to report on changes in the size of this population and trends over time, between 2000 and 2018. And we calculated the percentage of children who are HIV-exposed uninfected in countries with the highest HIV burden.

What we found

We found that in 2018 there were 14.8 million children who were HIV-exposed and uninfected around the world. This population has more than doubled from 6.7 million in 2000.

Ninety percent of all these children are from sub-Saharan Africa. Strikingly, half of all children who are HIV-exposed and uninfected come from just five countries – South Africa, Uganda, Mozambique, Tanzania and Nigeria.

Africa alone accounts for 3.5 million or 24% of all children who are HIV-exposed and uninfected.

Equally alarming is that in four southern African countries more than 20%, or at least one in every five children, is HIV-exposed and uninfected – Eswatini (32%), Botswana (27%), South Africa (22%) and Lesotho (21%).

What next

The substantial global population of children who are HIV-exposed and HIV-uninfected needs a coordinated strategy to reduce HIV exposure in children and to ensure their optimal health and wellbeing. Informed by these estimates, we propose a coordinated global strategy for improving their health outcomes.

This strategy requires collaboration from governments and their partners, including multilateral organisations, researchers and funders. It must be built on a strong foundation of dialogue with families and communities affected by HIV, who have seldom been consulted on the wellbeing of their children when they are HIV-uninfected.

Our proposed strategy has three pillars:
  • First, to reduce the number of adolescent girls and women newly infected with HIV and to reduce unintended pregnancies in adolescent girls and women living with HIV. The number of children who are HIV-exposed is determined by the number of pregnant women living with HIV, which has remained unchanged at 1.3 million globally every year since 2000.
  • Second, to keep mothers with HIV on lifelong antiretroviral therapy to ensure they stay well and don’t transmit HIV during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Countries with a high burden of HIV also need systems to continually evaluate the safety of this therapy.
  • Third, to ensure that research covers the geographical regions that are most affected. Exposure to HIV and to antiretroviral drugs during pregnancy has been well researched in high-income countries. But their HIV prevalence is low and other factors very different from the low- and middle-income countries where most of the children exposed to HIV are found. For instance, child mortality, preterm birth, infectious diseases and malnutrition occur far more often in low- and middle-income countries.

There are large numbers of children who are HIV-exposed and HIV-uninfected in southern Africa – and they are not surviving and thriving as well as children born to women without HIV. There is an urgent need in this region to find solutions enabling all children to reach their developmental potential and contribute fully to their communities.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.The Conversation


The Conversation Africa
The Conversation Africa is an independent source of news and views from the academic and research community. Its aim is to promote better understanding of current affairs and complex issues, and allow for a better quality of public discourse and conversation.
Go to:

About the author

Amy Slogrove, senior lecturer in Paediatrics and Child Health, Stellenbosch University and Kathleen M. Powis, assistant professor, Harvard Medical School

Let's do Biz