1000s of Zim children die from Aids

2011-09-08 22:27

Special Report

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Harare - Thousands of children die each year in Zimbabwe from HIV-related illnesses, often because they have no access to life-prolonging antiretroviral drugs, the state-run Herald newspaper reported on Thursday.

"Between 6 000 and 7 000 die per year as a result of HIV and in most cases these children have failed to access paediatric ART [antiretroviral therapy]," the report quoted Peter Salama, head of the United Nations agency for children (Unicef) in Zimbabwe, as saying.

The lack of technology meant that many children were not being tested for HIV, Salama told an Aids conference in Harare.

"It is important to have an early infant diagnosis as 50% of those children not tested will not be able to reach the age of two," he said.

About one in seven Zimbabweans is infected with HIV, the virus that causes Aids. The US-based Elizabeth Glazer Paediatric Foundation says about 13% of pregnant women are HIV-positive in Zimbabwe.

However, the relatively high costs of medical care and the poor economy means many women give birth at home or never return to hospital for post-natal checkups.

Read more on:    unicef  |  zimbabwe  |  hiv aids  |  health  |  southern africa

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