The United Nations Children’s Fund ( UNICEF ) has voiced deep concern over high HIV/AIDS infection among children and teenagers in Asia-Pacific and called for accelerated actions to address the specific needs of this vulnerable group and wipe out the pandemic.

“We have the opportunity to raise an AIDS-free generation in Asia and the Pacific,” said Dr. Isiye Ndombi, UNICEF’s Deputy Regional Director for East Asia and the Pacific at the 11 th conference on AIDS in Asia-Pacific on November 19.

He underscored “Of great importance is to ensure that no child is born with HIV and that those children living with HIV have access to the treatment, care and support they need to remain alive and well”.

According to new figures released on the day by UNICEF, some 350,000 people newly infected with HIV in Asia and the Pacific in 2012, with children under 14 years old accounting for over 6 percent and adolescents in the 10 to 19 age bracket, 17 percent. Moreover, about 240,000 teenagers in the region are currently living with HIV.

The region has seen a 9 percent reduction in new HIV infections among newborns between 2010 and 2012. However, this progress still falls far short of the Millennium Development Goal 6 on reducing new HIV infections in every country by 90 percent.-VNA