AIDS Leaves 9 Mln African Children Without Mothers

Manoah Esipisu, Reuters, March 20, 2006

Some 9 million children in Africa have lost a mother to AIDS, British charity Save the Children said Monday, calling on donors to sharply increase aid to meet their needs.

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Sub-Saharan Africa has about 10 percent of the world’s population but 60 percent of the people living with HIV/AIDS.

More than 3 million Africans were infected with HIV in 2005, representing 64 percent of all new infections globally and more than in any previous year for the impoverished continent, according to UNAIDS, the lead U.N. agency against AIDS.

Across sub-Saharan Africa, an estimated 4.6 percent of young women aged 15 to 24 are infected with HIV, compared to 1.7 percent of young men, according to U.N. data.

Save the Children said most of the 19.2 million women living with HIV around the globe were already mothers.

“To truly make a difference we must also support children whose mothers are HIV positive,” it said.

“In sub-Saharan Africa alone, more than 12 million children under the age of 15 have lost one or both parents to AIDS. By 2010, at current rates of HIV infection, this number is likely to increase to 18 million,” Save the Children said.

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