Since the 1980s, when AIDS first appeared, more than 10,500 children under the age of 12 have been diagnosed with the disease in Brazil. And out of that total, 79% of them were less than 5 years of age.
They have been the victims of what is called “vertical infection;” that is, they got AIDS from their mothers, either during pregnancy or at birth.
Brazil’s Ministry of Health reports that nowadays if a mother has AIDS an unborn child can be protected with proper care.
For that reason, the Ministry is running a campaign to have pregnant women who live in remote areas tested for AIDS using a technique developed by the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz) laboratory.
The use of the Fiocruz test in urban centers has already reduced the incidence of AIDS in newborn children by 30% since 1999.
With modern medical attention it is possible, even when children do get AIDS, to ensure them good quality of life. The immunity system can be restored and they can participate in normal childhood activities.
With the problem of AIDS in babies mostly under control, the trouble is with a slightly older age group.
Some 36,800 youths between the ages of 13 and 24 have been reported with the HIV virus in Brazil and their number is growing rapidly.
At the moment, more than half of all new cases of AIDS are in this age group. It is estimated that worldwide almost 12 million youths 15 to 24 have AIDS.
With adequate treatment and modern medicine, older AIDS victims can lead normal lives and even have children.
Translator: Allen Bennett
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