Health

Groups: AIDS Number 1 Killer of Adolescents in Africa

In this photo taken Monday, Feb. 16, 2015, a 16-year-old HIV-positive Kenyan girl whose mother died from AIDS-related complications, recounts her experiences on condition of anonymity because of her age and to avoid stigma in her community, at a center run by a Kenyan non-governmental organization in the Korogocho slum neighborhood of Nairobi, Kenya. AIDS has become the leading cause of death for adolescents in Africa and the second leading cause of death among adolescents globally, global health agencies said Tuesday. (Ben Curtis/AP Photo)
In this photo taken Monday, Feb. 16, 2015, a 16-year-old HIV-positive Kenyan girl whose mother died from AIDS-related complications, recounts her experiences on condition of anonymity because of her age and to avoid stigma in her community, at a center run by a Kenyan non-governmental organization in the Korogocho slum neighborhood of Nairobi, Kenya. (Ben Curtis/AP Photo)

TOM ODULA, Associated Press

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — AIDS has become the leading cause of death for adolescents in Africa and the second leading cause of death among adolescents globally, global health agencies said Tuesday.

About 120,000 people aged between 10-19 years died of AIDS-related illnesses in 2013, eight international organizations said while launching a global campaign in Kenya to stem the spread among adolescents. U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Deborah Birx said the future of the region rests in the health and well-being of the youth.

Adolescent girls in sub-Saharan Africa are most affected, said the organizations, which included UNAIDS, U.N. Children’s Fund, World Health Organization and the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief or PEPFAR, among others.

In South Africa in 2013, more than 860 girls became infected with HIV every week, compared to 170 boys, the organizations said.

The campaign, called “All In” will seek to address the imbalance by encouraging strategic changes in policy and involving more young people in the effort, the organizations said.

UNAIDS said it aims to reduce HIV infections in adolescents by 75 percent, and AIDS-related deaths by 65 percent by 2020.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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