The invisible generation – why are the deaths of adolescents living with HIV being forgotten?

May 28, 2014

New coalition calls for urgent response to expand treatment and care for adolescents living with HIV

The World Health Organization released a report last week that reveals HIV is the second leading cause of death amongst adolescents aged 10-19 globally, and the number one cause in Africa.1 Adolescents are increasingly dying at a time when HIV-related deaths are decreasing for all other age groups.

In light of this stark statistic, a new coalition was formed to catalyze immediate change in the HIV response for adolescents. Networks of people living with HIV, HIV treatment organisations and youth groups have united with researchers, clinicians and global health agencies to address gaps in the treatment and care needs of adolescents living with HIV, including the intellectual property barriers that prevent adolescents from accessing essential medicines. Key organizing partners include the Global Network of People Living with HIV (GNP+), the Global Network of Young People Living with HIV (Y+), the International Treatment Preparedness Coalition (ITPC), The PACT for Social Transformations in the AIDS response, and UNAIDS.

"The needs of adolescents living with HIV have been ignored for too long," said Suzette Moses-Burton, Executive Director of GNP+. "The problems we are facing today, which include the increasing number of HIV-related deaths among adolescents, are due to the failure of the HIV response to provide optimal treatment for children, as well as to understand their specific requirements on disclosure, adherence, and other support needs as they transition to adolescence and adulthood."

The coalition has outlined six key areas to improve access for the 2.1 million adolescents living with HIV globally to ensure that their rights to health and dignity. 

 

World Health Organization 2014