The United Nations is launching a global campaign to combat the AIDS pandemic which is threatening children as never before: every minute a child under the age of 15 dies as a result of AIDS and every day nearly 1,800 youngsters are newly infected with the HIV virus.
According to a new report from UNICEF and UNAIDS, children under 15 account for 1 in 6 global AIDS-related deaths and 1 in 7 new global HIV infections. An estimated 15 million children have lost one or both parents to AIDS, but less than 10 percent receive any public support.
The campaign's message is simple: AIDS is a growing threat to children and if serious action isn't taken immediately the world will not achieve the UN Millennium Development Goal of halting and reversing the AIDS pandemic by 2015.
According to the report, the children of sub-Saharan Africa have been hardest hit, accounting for more than 85% of all children under 15 living with the disease. The next largest group of youngsters with HIV and AIDS is in South and East Asia, but new HIV infections are increasing rapidly in Eastern Europe and parts of Central Asia.