The number of 15 to 19-year-olds dying of Aids-related illnesses in Central and West Africa has risen by 35% in just six years, the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) says.
The BBC reports that there are fears the number could remain high as the youth population grows – especially as four in five children infected with HIV in the region are still not receiving the life-saving treatment they need.
West and Central Africa is home to 25% of children living with HIV worldwide, but has limited capacity to diagnose the virus – meaning parents are not seeking the treatment their child needs.
Marie-Pierre Poirier, the region’s Unicef director, has called for improved early diagnosis as as well as access to treatment.
She said: “ It is tragic that so many children and adolescents today are not receiving the treatment they need just because they have not been tested.”