Skip to content

AFRICA'S SHAME: HIV positive teens, children dying due to failure to test them

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
2/20/2014 (4 years ago)
Catholic Online (

Zimbabwe health official stresses need for universal health clearance

It's a shameful fact that point to negligence on the part of African health officials. Thousands of teenagers and children in that nation are dying form AIDS as they are unaware of their HIV positive status. As a result, these young people die slow painful deaths that could have been prevented with a timely diagnosis.

While half of HIV positive children die before the age of two without treatment, one-third live to the age of 16.

While half of HIV positive children die before the age of two without treatment, one-third live to the age of 16.


By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Catholic Online (
2/20/2014 (4 years ago)

Published in Africa

Keywords: Zimbabwe, HIV-AIDS, adolescents, teenagers, children

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - A Zimbabwe-based expert on HIV/AIDS, Rashida Ferrand of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine has since called for universal testing of children entering health facilities in countries where the disease is prevalent.

In a 2010 survey, HIV/AIDS was the leading cause of hospitalization and in-hospital death among teenagers in the two public hospitals in the Zimbabwean capital Harare.

Honor the heroism of Saint Polycarp by going here --

Africa has more than three million children living with HIV/AIDS. Of that number, 1.7 million of them are adolescents aged between 10 and 18. The majority do not know they are infected.

Ferrand cites one especially horrifying case, where a 15-year-old boy suffers from swelling of the brain. "His eyes are protruding from the pressure that's built up in his head. It's as serious as that," she said in a telephone interview.

The boy's grandfather would not give permission for him to undergo the recommended medical procedures. He was discharged, against the doctor's advice. "They have taken the child back home. It's highly likely that this child will die," Ferrand says.

Denying a child the right to life-saving medical care is a human rights abuse, Ferrand said.

"If this was in the United Kingdom, we could bring in social services, we could bring in child protection services, and force the guardian to bring this child for treatment," she said. "It's a very difficult and potentially very complex thing to bring up because you cannot approach a community and accuse them of neglect."

Fifteen million African children have lost a parent to HIV/AIDS, according to the United Nations. Those lucky to have extended families are placed in situations where there is no money or time to care for sick children whom they have inherited from relatives.

In one particularly heartbreaking case, a stepfather sent an HIV positive 11-year-old girl to live in a rural area because he felt he could not support her. After her mother died, he married another woman with whom he has three healthy children.

"These are things that are very uncomfortable for communities to address. Nobody wants to say that 'I discriminate against this child because he or she is not my real child,'" Ferrand says.

Ferrand has found that up to 80 percent of older children in Zimbabwe living with HIV are undiagnosed. "Testing being missed is a huge issue in this age group. The vast majority of older children get tested when they present with an AIDS defining illness," she said. "By which time, they are already very immune suppressed."

While half of HIV positive children die before the age of two without treatment, one-third live to the age of 16.

In many countries, the parent or guardian has to give consent for a child under 18 to be tested. This can prove impossible when the parents are working in another country, as is common in southern Africa.

Pope Francis calls for your 'prayer and action'...


'Help Give every Student and Teacher FREE resources for a world-class Moral Catholic Education'

Copyright 2018 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for FEBRUARY 2018
Say 'No' to Corruption.
That those who have material, political or spiritual power may resist any lure of corruption.


More Africa

Nuns work to stop violence in Nigeria Watch

Image of

With widespread violence plaguing Nigeria, Catholic religious sisters in the country have united in the name of peace to counter the ... continue reading

Pope Francis accepts bishop's resignation Watch

Image of Bishop Okpaleke (left) has resigned.

Pope Francis accepted the resignation Monday of a Nigerian bishop who had been rejected by many of the priests of his diocese since his ... continue reading

Day of prayer and fasting for South Sudan and Congo Watch

Image of Millions of people struggle with violence and poverty due to conflict and government corruption.

On Sunday Pope Francis announced that the first Friday of Lent would be a day of prayer and fasting for peace given the many ongoing ... continue reading

A story of Christian persecution and survival from Nigeria Watch

Image of A gang of armed herdsmen are arrested by Nigerian authorities.

It is common in Nigeria that nomadic herdsmen clash with farmers over the use of land. However, in the past year in particular, raids by ... continue reading

Courageous police rescue six hostage nuns in Nigeria Watch

Image of

During a two day police operation, six women religious who were captured in Nigeria's Edo state two months ago were released unharmed on ... continue reading

Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

Learn about Catholic world

Catholic Online
Inform - Inspire - Ignite

Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained

Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need

Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online

Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye

Daily Reading
Today's bible reading

Lent / Easter
Death & resurrection of Jesus

Advent / Christmas
Birth of Jesus

Rest of Catholic Online
All Catholic world we offer

Products and services we offer

Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books

The California Network
Inspiring streaming service

Advertise on Catholic Online
Your ads on

Catholic Online Email
Email with Catholic feel

Catholic Online Singles
Safe, secure Catholic dating

The California Studios
World-class post production service

Learn the Catholic way

Catholic Online School
Free Catholic education for all

Student Classes
K-12 & Adult Education Classes

School Teachers
Teacher lesson plans & resources

Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education

Connect with us online

Catholic Online on Facebook
Catholic social network

Catholic Online on Twitter
Catholic Tweets

Catholic Online on YouTube
Enjoy our videos

Catholic Online on Instagram
Shared Catholic moments

Catholic Online on Pinterest
Catholic ideas style inspiration

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2018 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2018 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.