By Msgr. Robert J. Vitillo*
Twelve-year-old orphan named Mos during exercise time at the Baan Dek Thammarak orphanage in Lopburi province, north of Bangkok, Thailand. The orphanage cares for children with HIV. March 7, 2016. (CNS photo/EPA/Diego Azubel).
VATICAN CITY — Massive progress has been made in relation to the diagnosis and treatment of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, since the 1980s. In 2015, UNAIDS announced we reached the milestone of getting 15 million people on anti-retroviral treatment (ARVs).
Timely diagnosis and effective treatment mean that many people are living with HIV rather than dying from it. However, only 42 percent of children with HIV were receiving ARVs in 2014.
Pregnant women are now diagnosed earlier and receive timely treatment. There’s less mother-to-child-transmission but once women see that their children are born healthy, many may go off treatment and this leaves the child open to infection with HIV through breastfeeding.
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