HIV in children is a symptom of the failures of the AIDS response Considering that the prevention of mother-to-child infection is the strongest success story in HIV care, no child today should be born with HIV in the first place. The fact that such a disproportionate number of HIV infections in infants happen in West and Central Africa is a clear sign of the failures of the HIV response in the region. Antiretroviral treatment coverage needs to be urgently increased for all, so as to protect not only the children but also their mothers, fathers, kin and communities”. A pregnant or breastfeeding HIV+ woman on successful ARV treatment has less than 2% risk of transmitting the virus to her infant. In West and Central Africa, the high number of infections in infants is due to low access to treatment for their mothers, with just 42% of HIV-positive pregnant women receiving ARVs compared to 88% in the Eastern and Southern Africa regions. Malaria is the leading cause of death among children under 5 in Cameroon. ORPHANS AND VULNERABLE CHILDREN AFFECTED BY HIV AND AIDS: The number of people living with HIV who receive antiretroviral treatment has more than doubled since 2009. At the end of 2012, 122,000 people were on HIV treatment, or 42 percent of those requiring it. On average in 2012, some 1,400 new patients were starting treatment with anti-retroviral medicines every month. Only 10% of infants of HIV-positive mothers in West and Central Africa are tested for HIV within two months of their birth, compared to 50% in high HIV prevalence countries of Eastern and Southern Africa. Early infant diagnosis testing is unavailable in most health facilities. Getting timely results of the limited number of tests performed is crucial to ensuring the survival of HIV infected babies; however, this has proven very difficult, either because there are not enough tests available, or because patients have to pay for them, or because inadequate transport and communication systems mean that the result takes up to six months to be received by the health care provider – with valuable time being lost to start treatment. Besides these diagnostic barriers, access to and retention on treatment is hampered by the non-availability of pediatric formulations, frequent stock outs of essential commodities, payment requirement from patients, and lack of counselling and patient support.
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