Home » Blog » Girls in West and Central Africa Face Six Times Higher HIV Risk Than Boys
UNICEF has raised concerns about a significant increase in HIV and AIDS infections among teenagers in West and Central Africa, particularly girls, according to data available to the organization. Alexandre Boon, UNICEF’s Chief of Health, highlighted that girls face a six times higher risk of contracting HIV than boys. The data, presented in the Global AIDS Monitoring and UNAIDS 2022 estimates report, indicates a rising trend in HIV cases among adolescents, attributing it to various factors such as social circumstances, poverty, and unprotected sex.
Boon emphasized that girls’ vulnerability to sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV, is higher due to their level of sexual activity. The limited engagement of community health workers in HIV/AIDS service delivery and the low availability of adolescent and youth-friendly health services in some countries exacerbate the challenges. West and Central Africa is identified as one of the regions where children and adolescents are most affected by HIV, trailing behind East and Southern Africa.
The Global AIDS Monitoring and UNAIDS 2022 report revealed that Prevention of Mother To Child Transmission (PMTCT) has remained at 65% coverage in the region since 2017. Additionally, 7 out of 10 children lack access to HIV treatment in West and Central Africa, with pediatric treatment coverage at 35%, compared to 73% for adults. Boon urged accelerated efforts to create an AIDS-free generation in the region, emphasizing the need to focus on children and adolescents to deliver on the collective promise of achieving this goal by 2030.